Provocative sign outside downtown parking garage

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Patrick Hamill takes pride in his St. Louis Auto parking garage in downtown St. Louis as, what he calls, one of the only parking options with a manned attendant around the clock.

"It's the only thing I've got here that's different than anybody else," Hamill said. "I can guarantee that their car is not going to get broken into if they choose to park here.”

Hamill believes if nearby lots followed his example, then the area could see a decrease in vehicle break-ins, which he says has become a problem.

"If everybody played by the same rules we would get rid of the problem," he said. "Our police are doing what they can do. They can only do so much unless we help them.”

His way of helping is advertising his lot in a unique way. Hamill has installed a billboard ad on the side of his building with crime statistics sourced from crimereports.com. The billboard reads: “330 recent car break-ins. Park secure here.”

"You can only hide your head in the sand so long," Hamill said. "I tried to get somebody to do something about it, but it doesn't seem to work. Now that they're aware of it, you can show that that's the problem.”

Some think publicizing a problem in this way brings negative publicity to the area.

"That one sign can affect real estate and tourism," said one longtime downtown resident. “Crime down here is an issue but let's not have it plastered on a wall that's huge. When people see that wall, fear, uncertainty, and doubt right away... that's what people see and it's sad.”

Hamill says he has a city permit to have the billboard up and doesn't plan on taking it down anytime soon.