ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A community in unincorporated north St. Louis County contacted the You Paid For It team for help dealing with a spike in cases of vandalism of their cars, as well as car thefts and other property crimes.
Residents are pleading for more police protection; they didn’t see an adequate number of patrols in the area. They believe that encouraged criminals to target their area.
“We’ve got kids—young men—coming through the neighborhood, destroying our property, knocking our mailboxes down, breaking our windows out of cars for no apparent reason,” Radford Beasley said.
Beasley’s wife, Michelle, has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years. She says police used to patrol the area regularly but don’t anymore.
“I don’t know what it is or why, but we just need to see more of a police presence,” she said.
There is even a state trooper living in the neighborhood with a marked patrol car. Radford says even their vehicle was not spared.
“Lady lives around the corner. She has a husband that’s a state trooper. She said they broke in their car,” he said. “Now, that’s bold, you breaking in a lady’s car and the state trooper sitting right outside front.”
Residents say they’ve complained to the police many times to police, but haven’t seen much in the way of results.
Gina Abernathy says that worries her.
“Where I live, the cars have been broken into twice. It’s bad. I’m literally moving,” she said.
Captain Tony Cavaletti, commander of the North County Precinct, responded to the complaints, saying police are in the area.
“We’re in their community, we’re in their neighborhoods and other neighborhoods, and we are out there patrolling, doing what we can,” he said.
But in the wake of their complaints, Cavaletti says he’s planning extra measures.
”I know we’re going to make sure our officers are aware of the problems that are going on in the area,” he said.
“We’re going to make sure we do extra patrols in there the times that these crimes are occurring, and then we’re going to have our precinct detectives look further and see if we can look back at some of these previous reports and current ones, and see if we can get a suspect out of this.”
Councilwoman Shalonda Webb, who represents the Wedgewood neighborhood and is chair of the St. Louis County Council, says the problem isn’t unique to just one area.
“…There has been an increase in car break-ins around St. Louis County and. of course to north county, they’ve had those increases as well,” she said.
Does she think more officers will make a difference in making residents feel safer?
“We want to,” she said.