Slay promises ‘zero tolerance’ for minor infractions in downtown

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says immediate steps are being taken to make downtown safer after a very violent week.

At the site where a young mother lost her life in a carjacking Sunday night, there are flowers on the ground and police on the sidewalk, walking the beat in greater numbers on orders of the mayor, who finds Brandi Smith's murder particularly vexing.

“This really does shatter our sense of well-being and it makes people afraid, and that’s understandable. It seems like we had everything in place. The lighting, the cameras, the police traffic, and this happens out of nowhere,” Slay said.

Slay and St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson have added officers after previous incidents as well, but the mayor says this time the approach includes going after people for the smallest of offenses, like public urination and even littering, so the word spreads that downtown is crawling with cops.

“We want to set an environment that our tolerance level is zero now and that we are not going to tolerate inappropriate behavior that is going to cause people downtown to not feel safe,” he said.

The mayor finds some comfort in the fact that downtown cameras picked up images of the alleged carjackers that were critical in identifying the suspects.

Some of those cameras were bought by Downtown St. Louis Inc. and installed by the city.

But Fox 2 has learned four of them have been sitting in boxes since January for reasons Missy Kelley, president and CEO of Downtown St. Louis Inc., says have not been made clear.

“They are a great tool. It was not an inexpensive gift, and I think all around we are kind of ready to be done with this conversation and move forward,” Kelley said.

St. Louis Director of Operations Todd Waelterman explained the cameras still in boxes are the type that constantly feed video and because so many have been put up recently, the network is being upgraded so the increase in data does not cause it to crash.

Waelterman says the remaining cameras should be installed within two weeks