2022 Neighborhood Safety Forum Presentation

On Monday, May 9 the Soulard Special Business District (SSBD) hosted its annual neighborhood safety forum, informing residents about District-funded security efforts. Alderman Jack Coatar kicked off the meeting by explaining the formation and boundaries of the SSBD. Board Treasurer Terry Hoffman then walked attendees through the current property tax rate, which funds the District. For 2021, the tax rate was set at $0.56 per $100 of assessed value (meaning a residential home appraised at $100,000 would pay approximately $106). In 2022, property taxes are expected to deliver approximately $375,000 to the SSBD. Approximately half of those funds are used for security patrols via TCF (The City’s Finest), followed by traffic calming, a camera program, street / pedestrian lighting, operating expenses and special programs.

From the St Louis Police Department (SLMPD), Lieutenant Joe Morici provided an overview of District 3, specifically addressing police staffing shortages (in part due to the city vs county / suburban officer pay disparity), as well as vehicle break-ins / larcenies happening in Soulard. Attendees inquired about cars racing and blocking intersections around the city. Morici explained the department’s anti-cruising detail and its focus on the border of District 3 and District 4 to the north. He then handed the presentation over to SSBD’s TCF representatives, Sergeant Kitchell and Major Cousins.

Kitchell shared statistics around TCF’s efforts in Soulard over the past year. TCF officers worked more than 1100 shifts resulting in 17 arrests, 166 field interview reports, 57 felony charges initiated, 36 misdemeanor charges initiated and 52 ordinance charges initiated.

Kitchell noted that, when reviewing year-over-year statistics, it appears as if crime almost doubled in 2021 compared to 2020, but that increase is in part due to a change in the way crime is reported (a change implemented by the FBI to standardize crime reporting nation-wide). Click here to view crime reports.

However, there has been an influx of car break-ins not just in Soulard but city-wide. Parking lots, in particular, are vehicle break-in hot spots (vs street parking). Guns, purses and wallets are criminals’ main objectives. Kitchell and Cousins said that tinted windows are especially attractive (they noted that about 50 percent of larcenies are vehicles with tinted windows). They also advised residents – and especially visitors – that when putting valuable items in a trunk, move the vehicle after doing so – as some criminal networks have scouts watch for people to put purses, guns, etc. in trunks, which are then easy to pop.

Board Chairman Luke Reynolds talked about SSBD’s camera program, which includes license plate recognition cameras which help ID stolen vehicles. The cameras are tied to SLMPD’s Real Time Crime Center, giving detectives and officers access to neighborhood footage.

Board member Jim Rick explained SSBD’s catalytic converter theft prevention program. Any District resident who wants a Cat Clamp installed on their vehicle can visit Don’s Muffler Shop to have the installation done for $325. SSBD will reimburse 50 percent of the cost (please contact Jim in advance at jrick12@gmail.com to receive the discount voucher)

To view the 2022 Safety Forum presentation in its entirety, click here.

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