ST. LOUIS —
There have been seven homicides in just six days in St. Louis, and so far, none of them have resulted in arrests.
"It’s very difficult to turn the corner on that. We really need help from the public," said St. Louis Metropoitan Police Chief John Hayden.
Overall, homicides are up in St. Louis. So far this year, there have been 122, ten more than we did at this point last year.
Ever since Chief Hayden took control of the department, he's emphasized the use of hot spot policing. The strategy is to saturate three different zones of the city with more manpower, to cut down on crime.
So far, two of the three zones have seen some success.
"I’m pleased in both the one centrally located and the one in Dutchtown and Gravois Park, they are both seeing a decrease in homicides," Hayden said.
But Chief Hayden's Rectangle in North St. Louis has seen 30 more homicides this year, compared to this time last year.
We asked Hayden if that means officers need to be reallocated.
"Sure," he said. "We are approaching the last quarter of the year, and certainly I’ve played in many games where we were behind in the last quarter, so we we will be readjusting some efforts to focus more on where the heat is occurring."
Many crimes don't happen in the rectangles at all, like 7-year-old Xavier Usanga's death. That happened just a few miles from the northern rectangle.
We asked Hayden if that meant other neighborhoods are being neglected.
"They’re not being neglected," he said. "They’re not getting the emphasis that those areas are getting. I didn’t take officers out of those districts in order to accomplish that goal, we went through special assignments."
That being said, his police department is still 150 officers short in a region with plenty of other police departments that pay more and let you live wherever you'd like.
"I would think the biggest recruitment barrier is the residency rule. We are the only police department in the region that has a residency requirement," said Hayden.
So with those limited numbers, Hayden is expected to do what so many before him have been unable to accomplish, crack down on crime.
For Hayden, that means staying the course on hot spot policing.
"The focus on places that have been very violent has been legitimate and I think we just need to fine tune that," said Hayden.