ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones responded today to concerns over downtown violence exposed by a FOX Files report on Wednesday.
FOX 2 reported how violent crowds of teens reportedly filled Kiener Plaza this weekend and shot out windows of a nearby high rise.
“It’s absolutely upsetting,” Mayor Jones said. “We can’t just focus on one area.”
“When I moved back to north St. Louis and my son was 9-years-old playing outside, and someone was driving down the street shooting up in the air, so crime happens in a lot of areas and I’m not trying to discount what’s happening downtown, but we have to take care of all of our citizens.”
Alderman Jack Coatar told FOX 2 that downtown businesses are threatening to leave, which is a threat to the local tax base.
“The entire city is our tax base,” Mayor Jones said. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can protect downtown as well as protect other neighborhoods who are experiencing crime on a daily basis.”
The mayor said the answer is not more police downtown.
“…Because when you have increased presence downtown, you send a signal to other areas that they are also vulnerable,” she said.
Police incident reports show much of the recent downtown violence is tied to young people. And the weekend shooting at Peabody Plaza was at about 9:50 p.m.
We asked the mayor if a curfew could or should be considered.
“You know, curfews are sometimes dangerous. I’d like to see what other opportunities we are offering for young people to do something productive with their time,” she said. “We have wonderful nonprofits, the Boys and Girls Club, Urban League, United Way, the YMCAs, rec centers. We already have the infrastructure. We just need to use it differently.”
Jones said it will take partnerships to fight crime. She’s asking corporations, nonprofits, and citizens to come to the table with the city and find solutions.