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Police increase patrols in downtown St. Louis following violent robberies

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -  Police are significantly increasing downtown patrols following two unusually violent street robberies.

There are now more officers in cars, on bikes, on foot, and more undercover officers patrolling the downtown area.

'I think the undercover unit is just as important,' said Missy Kelley, spokesperson for Downtown STL Inc.

'People need to know they are down here because that will also help deter, but it should also help those of us who are living and working down here to know that even when we
can`t see them they are here and helping us,' she said.

In the wake last week`s brutal daytime robbery of a lawyer by a group of teenagers, police are trying to change both the perception and the reality of downtown safety.

'It is safe to say police presence has doubled since that incident,' said Captain Dan Howard, commander of District Four, which patrols downtown.

Something else has recently quadrupled --- the number of people taking advantage of downtown safety escorts to get to and from their cars.

'In the past three months, we have had over a 400 percent increase over last year in the number of people asking for a walk to their car,' Kelley said. 'We are shifting the timing of our staff throughout the day to make sure we can staff up for this and it is working out really well.'

But police hope what produces the most significant results are results.

They have now arrested these two teenagers, plus two juveniles for last week`s attack against the lawyer, and three of the four teenage girls suspected of two violent street robberies in late October.

'I think the word is already getting out there that you are not going to get away with it,' Howard said.