Central West End Residents On Edge Over Safety Issues

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – There was progress in solving two of St. Louis`s top unsolved crimes, police said Wednesday. The news came with the entire area 'on edge' as the spike in violent crime continued.

The latest cases:  an attempted rape on the St. Louis University campus, and an abduction and robbery (the victim forced to drive the suspect to an ATM and withdraw money) on the Washington University campus, within an hour of each other, Tuesday night.  

St. Louis Police Chief, Dan Isom, met with the public at a neighborhood security forum at the Schlafly Library branch in the Central West End, Wednesday night.  With more than 100 people crammed into the meeting room and the crowd spilling into the hallways, it was obvious what 'the' top issue was in St. Louis these days:  safety.

'People who are involved with those kind of criminal activities, they communicate with each other.  They tell each other where they can go and get away with this crime,' one woman in the crowd told the chief.   

'Maybe we all need to be more proactive when we see something,' said another.

'We`ve been trying the same thing for years and every year the murder capital of the country, maybe it`s time we try something new,' a man in the crowd told Isom.

'Certainly if we suspend the constitution, we could slow all of this down.  We`re trying to do this the right way,' Isom responded.  

He was actually glad to hear the comments; even the criticism.  They were signs police were not alone in their passion to change things.

'Certainly we`re going through a bad period.  No one can say we`re not,' Isom admitted.

He had good news in response to one question.

'Has there been any progress in the investigation on the robbery of 4 medical students at Euclid and West Pine ?' a woman asked, of a mass robbery at gunpoint reported the same day as the robbery and murder of Megan Boken, 23, not far from the mass robbery scene in the Central West End.

The murder suspects were already arrested.

Isom said police were getting closer to suspects in the other case.

'Yes we do have leads in several of these robbery cases,' he said.  
Isom said property stolen from the med students had been recovered in Fairview Heights, IL, and there was surveillance video of a vehicle involved.  He also said the same suspects were likely behind the robbery at gunpoint, of seven women after a Cardinals game right outside of Busch Stadium last Wednesday night.

'Whether they happen in St. Louis City or St. Louis County or Illinois, usually there`s a connection.  Individuals don`t commit robberies in one community,' Isom said.  'I`m a resident of the City of St. Louis.  I`m not moving.  My family is here.  My daughter is here, so no, it`s not too late.'

He also said the new 'surge' strategy, where 100 city officers moved to night duty to target crime 'hot spots’ was now  up and running;  police were specifically tracking a pool of 200 people they considered most likely to commit violent crimes in an effort to stop the next attack before it happened. 

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