St. Louis police install new ‘SkyCop’ cameras to curb car break-ins downtown

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ST. LOUIS — On the same day St. Louis authorities announced new steps to combat rampant vehicle break-ins, police reported that about 30 break-ins happened near Enterprise Center in Downtown St. Louis.

Most of the victims were attending the St. Louis Blues Hockey game Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, St. Louis Police installed “SkyCop” surveillance cameras at parking lots near Enterprise Center. There will also be extra officers patrolling the area during Thursday night’s Blues game.

Most of the vehicles that had their windows smashed Tuesday night were on the lot at 15th and Poplar. About 10 vehicles were hit during the Blues game before Tuesday night.

It’s a $20 lot, managed by the City of St. Louis. There is no signage saying who operates the lot and no security presence, just people collecting parking fees before the games.

Thieves are targeting lots with no on-site security presence, according to security guards. The thieves appear to be smashing windows rapid-fire just to see if there’s anything inside worth stealing.

Earlier this month, businesses with large overnight staffs were targeted in St. Charles County, St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, Madison County, and St. Clair County. More than 200 vehicles had their windows smashed in the span of a few days, according to police.

Enterprise Center released the following statement, Wednesday:

“The safety of our guests and their property is paramount. We will work with the St. Louis Police Department and the City of St. Louis to assist in any way possible to keep our fans and their vehicles safe and protected.”

St. Louis City Treasurer, Adam Layne, who oversees parking in the city released this statement:

“Today, the City of St. Louis was amongst over 10 other area municipal governments called to address the upsurge in vehicular break-ins, motor vehicle thefts, and catalytic converter thefts across the metropolitan area. On November 16th City of St. Louis authorities received news of approximately 30 break-ins reported on both the Greyhound Bus and Union Station parking lots following a St. Louis Blues game. Four of those incidents were reported to have occurred just south of the Enterprise Center on a City of St. Louis managed lot (GTC) nearby the bus station. Understanding the process involved to pursue a formal complaint, the Treasurer’s Office reiterates the importance for victims to file a formal police report.

We are concerned about of the uptick in break-ins across the metro area, as it’s a shared point of discussion for us all. That said, it’s important for City of St. Louis residents to note there are a lot of options for event-goers to park downtown that have security present on-site during events. This includes our garages and parking lots at Kiel, Justice, Williams, and City Hall,’ said City of St. Louis, Parking Administrator, Leonard Freeman.

While many St. Louisans might opt to choose metered lots without full-time security on-site, the process for reporting a claim is the same no matter where you park in the city. Call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to file a formal report. Albeit an understandably frustrating experience, this is still the first step required to support a claim where a vehicular break-in has occurred, as this formal process enacts the review of any potential surveillance footage available. For privacy reasons the Parking Division’s policy is to release footage directly to SLMPD via thumb drive and any additional sharing is at the discretion of the detective assigned to the case. Having recently made reserve parking available through the ParkMobile app online, residents are also able to secure parking ahead of events at all the city-owned parking garages and lots that have full-time security. (This does not include Williams lot as it is a cash-only facility).

With increases as high as almost 300% in St. Louis county over the last year, authorities are reevaluating how to improve security across the area. As recent as last month, 16th Ward Alderman Tom Oldenburg sponsored (BB61) that went into effect mid-October to make it unlawful for individuals to lift the door handles or otherwise try the locks of successive vehicles to gain entry. Individuals found to be in violation would be subject to fines up to $500 and or a term of imprisonment for up to 90 days. Other improvements include the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office reaching out to security vendors to look into the costs associated with increasing onsite patrol as well as recommendations to increase the patrol area for roving security on lots that do not have full-time security on-site. Roving security monitors 6 downtown garages/lots from 6 pm-6 am daily and are now scheduled to increase their patrol area on event nights.”

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