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Airbnb cracks down on unauthorized parties this Memorial Day weekend

Downtown residents say short-term rentals and the parties they attract are one of the biggest contributors to overnight problems.

ST. LOUIS — This Memorial Day weekend, Airbnb said it's cracking down on parties in its short-term rentals.

Residents said short-term rentals are big contributors to the violent issues downtown, but some of them are hard to track as they aren’t affiliated with a company.

David Sosne, a resident, said once it starts to warm up, they always see more and more problems downtown.

“Whether it's criminal activity or bad behavior, the nice weather seems to attract that. I'm a little bit concerned about it, and I don't like to see it,” Sosne said.

Downtown residents said short-term rentals and the parties they attract are one of the biggest contributors.

“Some of the units, whether they're condos or apartments, they have allowed people to be here short term. They don't have the best interests of the neighborhood. As a result, we have problems down here,” Sosne said.

While some of these problem properties are not affiliated with short term rental apps, Airbnb said it’s increasing efforts over the holiday weekend to stop unauthorized parties by flagging possible high-risk reservations.

“If I have a brand-new account that just started up yesterday and I live in St. Louis and all of a sudden, I'm trying to book a four-bedroom home downtown for one night on the Saturday, Memorial Day, that's the type of reservation where the system is going to perk up a bit. It's going to say, you know what, that seems a little high risk,” Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit said.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering a bill right now that would require a permit for people to operate short-term rentals.

Sosne said he wants the city to take action and commit to making downtown safer.

“This is the view we give to the world and unless you clean this up, we will have this problem, this perception problem that will exist forever and ever,” Sosne said.

Airbnb said they have resources for hosts and neighbors if there are issues with unauthorized parties where you can call or submit something online.

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