ST. LOUIS – This weekend marks the first time that scooters will be deactivated in downtown St. Louis since they made their debut in the city.
Calls to end scooter operations in the Downtown and Downtown West neighborhoods came from residents frustrated over fights and violence coupled with large gatherings of juveniles. Earlier this week, city officials announced the scooters would be deactivated.
Dan Pistor, vice-chair of the St. Louis Downtown Neighborhood Association, believes the decision is already making a difference.
“The amount of youth downtown has certainly decreased, and there haven’t been any piles of scooters on the sidewalks,” he said.
Pistor said Saturdays have seen the most problems in areas near Kiener Plaza and the City Garden. He adds he does not believe halting scooter usage is a single solution. Pistor said a curfew and more enforcement measures could also help reduce violence.
Pistor said, “I think everyone is pleased thus far and it has been a completely different environment down here without the scooters.”
Public Safety Director Dan Isom told FOX2 earlier this week the city is working to stop the violence, and deactivating the scooters is part of that plan.
“Shooting among unsupervised juveniles, multiple calls of disruptive and nuisance of young people at multiple locations, including Citygarden, Union Station, and Ball Park Hilton,” Isom said. “Security at these locations did their best to try and get these disturbances under control.”
Many residents have asked the city to eliminate scooters, believing they’re a magnet for attracting large groups of kids.
“We do not have the resources to monitor where we can keep young people from engaging in dangerous behaviors, so those will be shut off until further notice,” Isom said.
Clint Collins is founder of Studio 618 https://www.facebook.com/Studio-618-221663944512914/ and founder of an annual event aimed at preventing violence.
The annual Put Down the Guns and Pick Up your Sons event will take place Saturday, June 18th at Lincoln Park in East St. Louis.
The event will include neighborhood softball games, go-kart rides, horseback rides and a car auction. Collins said the event shines a focus on the importance of reaching out to youth to reduce the chances of them committing crimes later in life.
“You got to reach out to them and talk to them,” said Collins. “Sometimes, it’s just a few words that can stop what could potentially be your family member getting shot and killed.”
He said reports of juveniles involved in crime downtown is an indication their parents are absent.
“Some of these people are being raised by TV and the streets and don’t have anyone at home to tell them that that’s wrong,” said Collins.