ST. LOUIS – St. Louis residents and business owners took their concerns to the alderperson at a town hall Monday. The meeting was nearly full, as Alderwoman Cara Spencer and Alderman Rasheen Aldridge provided residents with updates on proposed bills in the city.

“I introduced a bill on Friday that will prohibit the open carry of firearms in our city. It does not touch concealed weapons,” Spencer said.

Crime and safety were a big concern for many residents at the event. People living in the city said there is a disconnect between the city’s crime statistics and personal experience.

“Residency is down by five percent over just two years. Why? Everybody in the room thinks it’s crime,” said Barbara Absher. “So it feels like there is more crime, and it feels more dangerous. People need to feel safe, or businesses will flee, and the economy will just tank.”

The meeting was also a place where residents got a chance to hear updates on short-term rentals.

“A lot of these Airbnbs are not being regulated, and what we’ve seen over the last few weekends is people are getting in these Airbnbs, turning them into parties,” Aldridge said. “Those parties are going from inside the Airbnbs to outside in the street, and we’re talking 2 or 3 in the morning and all type of crime issues.”