ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – After a spike in crimes ranging from car break-ins to carjacking to murder,
Downtown St. Louis visitors were hoping for safety in numbers as they headed to the St. Louis Blues hockey game, Tuesday night. .
St. Louis Police said they would be zeroing in on Downtown crime.
There were a few fans who said they still felt safe; recent events changed nothing.
But most who talked with FOX 2 said the specter of becoming a crime victim had become “top of mind" in Downtown St. Louis.
It certainly seemed like more people were paying to park on lots and in garages instead of going for free parking on the streets.
“It feels a little bit safer when you`re in a closed off area. Everybody`s together. We usually park on the street. It feels a little bit nicer to have in a parking garage for sure,” said Blues fan, Matty Noedel.
“I feel like the parking garages kind of have a little bit more security than on the street where your stuff`s right there for everybody to see,” said Alyssa High, attending the game with Noedel.
FOX 2 reported a spike in Downtown car break-ins last month, especially near the City Museum.
Police said then there was no plan for a heightened presence in the area.
That changed just after midnight Sunday, when Bobby Christman, 19, was shot and killed while parked near the City Museum as a gunman tried to steal his friend`s purse.
Blues fan Jack Czajkowski was once a school mate of Christman`s at De Smet High School.
“Yeah, it changes stuff. You`re always a little more cautious when you come down here now. I guess sometimes you don`t want to come down here now,” he said.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Downtown visitors would notice big changes, soon.
“More visibility, officers like mobile reserve, special operations, anti-crime, who have discretionary time that ride the entire city are now going to spending more time in Downtown St. Louis. We`re going to be spending more overtime in Downtown St. Louis. So you see more police officers,” he said.
Also, a real time police intelligence center given a trial run at Fair St. Louis, is about to become permanent Downtown.
Police will monitor a network of surveillance cameras, keeping an eye on you and the criminals who may be targeting you -- especially coming and going from your car.
“It's going to be a huge asset to us when we try to prevent or even solve crimes this will have video surveillance evidence to find the crooks,” said Major Michael Caruso of the St. Louis Police Department. “What it will do is tie all the surveillance systems that are in existence now through the city, a bunch of private business and even some private citizens who have surveillance systems at their residences or their neighborhoods...we wil be able to monitor these through the police department.”
The suspect in the murder of Bobby Christman remains at large.
If you have any information call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.
There's a reward in the case.
You don't have to leave your name to get it.