New downtown initiative adds police, will work to improve area


ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced a new initiative to activate downtown and improve public safety. It is called the Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative. The task force will include civic, business, and community leaders who will meet weekly to discuss how to improve downtown.

“It is our shared responsibility as a city to create opportunities for our young people and families to enjoy downtown,” said Mayor Jones this morning.

This announcement comes after action was taken against problematic downtown bars and clubs. Friday, the nightclub Reign had its liquor license suspended for a month. Video of a shooting outside that nightclub led to the suspension.

St. Louis Public Safety Director Dan Isom explained the city is deploying 30 officers to the downtown areas on the weekends in an effort to curb problems.

Isom said the deployment started last weekend during the Ride of the Century. He said there will also be an increase in enforcement of park curfews, parking rules, and other issues.

He said this plan will be in place for about five to six weeks and then some adjustments will be made. He said this will only be a temporary plan.

Isom also touted that the city’s homicides are at a five-year low. He said the homicides are down 35% over last year alone.

Mayor Jones explained in the short term, the immediate action is to address safety. However, she said making downtown a positive space for communities to come together is a key to long-term growth.

Several other community partners spoke out at today’s announcement including Bill DeWitt III, the President of the Cardinals.

DeWitt says the Cardinals are committed to St. Louis and the team isn’t going anywhere.

He said when it comes to security efforts, failure is not an option. He said he is glad to be part of the group that will meet to discuss how to make downtown safer.

Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis Inc, is also joining the group. Greater St. Louis Inc. represents many businesses in the area.

Hall said downtown St. Louis is critical to the long-term success of the area. He said the business community is already working on strengthening downtown.

He explained Greater St. Louis Inc. is already working with several civic leaders to connect the Busch Stadium area with the Civic Center through the dedicated bike and pedestrian lanes.

Hall also said there are efforts to bring live music and entertainment to downtown to create something positive for people to do downtown.

The Regional Business Group of Greater St. Louis also attended the news conference and pledged the organization’s support for the effort.

Anthony Thompson with Kwame Building Group said the deployment of 30 officers is needed.

“Who robs someone in front of cops? They don’t …” he said.  

The Regional Business Group of Greater St. Louis is already sponsoring a new concert series starting this Thursday on the Landing.

The group will meet weekly to discuss more ideas to help reduce crime 

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