ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– What has been one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in North St. Louis has turned into what could be the safest. Police are swarming the streets of the College Hills Neighborhood. After four shootings, three of them resulting in killings in recent days Chief Sam Dotson has implemented the Homicide Deterrence Initiative.
Chief Dotson said, “This is what hot spot policing is when we identify a problem neighborhood that has significant issues we bring to bear the full resources of the police department.”
Some 80 officers will be combing the streets round the clock. They come from a number of units in the department including SWAT, canine, traffic safety and the violent offenders unit. Dotson added, “We know there are a few individuals who engage in criminal activities that are terrorizing an entire neighborhood and hold them hostage were targeting on those individuals.”
A memorial to one homicide victim stands nearby the spot where police were massing. Police were going door to door and talking to folks in cars. They were getting to know the community and pleading with residents to get involved and call the cops if they know anything about any crimes. Alderman Antonio French said, “People are afraid I under that but we got to get that information they have to the right people quickly enough so they can do something about it.”
Police were pulling out all the stops including using metal detectors to search for discarded weapons which could be potential evidence. The chief said all the officers would be in the neighborhood until the violence stops. Joyce Piffins’ 80 year old mother lives in the neighborhood. Piffins is glad the police are out in force. Piffins said, “I think it will help they need it down here they really do.”
The chief said the operation does not put any other part of the city in jeopardy when it comes to safety. Police will move to other neighborhoods as the need arises. Police believe the 3 homicides and shootings are related and not connected to gangs.