Downtown Security: Where do we go from here?

HeadA letter from our President & CEO, Missy Kelley.

Dear Downtown Stakeholders,

Once again, we residents, business owners, and professionals who work in downtown find ourselves experiencing a combination of shock, sadness, anger and fear as a result of the recent crime spree in Downtown St. Louis.

The entire St. Louis region should be outraged by the horrific murder of Brandi Hill, the senseless assault of Derrick Glasby and his friend, and the disturbing video of a criminal firing shots across the Old Post Office Plaza, right in the heart of Downtown St. Louis.

The entire region should be outraged by this because what happens in the central business district, the economic engine and heart of the St. Louis region affects us all. It affects our national reputation. It affects what businesses consider St. Louis when exploring options for their headquarters. Most importantly, it affects each of our families. Downtown St. Louis is the region’s Downtown. We all own it. We all deserve to feel safe visiting the many assets that can only be found in the heart of our city.

This morning, I met with Mary Ellen Ponder, Chief of Staff to Mayor Slay. The Mayor’s Office has committed to immediately increasing the police presence in Downtown. Law enforcement will be visible.  All laws, including municipal violations, such as; panhandling, open container, public urination and excessive noise, to name a few, will be strictly enforced.

I am committed to making sure this is just the start. We have seen a similar response from the City in the past after a sensational crime or a series of criminal activity in a short period of time.  It is not enough for us to be reactive then revert to the status quo. It is time to take back our Downtown and this will require, among other things, strong and consistent presence of police officers and enforcement of all state and municipal laws.

While law enforcement is an important component to keeping our community safe, this takes a community effort. We cannot police our way out of the situation many cities across our country are now facing; proliferation of gun ownership by criminals, emboldened criminals with little regard for human life, traditional and social media that can be both helpful and harmful to efforts that promote community safety.

I am both grateful and proud of the work of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. This morning I was assured that addressing crime in the heart of our city is the mayor’s number one priority, and that with the support of the region, organizations like ours, and the many passionate, residents and businesses that call Downtown home, he will lead us to a better place.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns or ideas.

Best Regards,

Missy Kelley
President & CEO
Downtown STL, Inc.