Zero-tolerance policy returns to Loop following violence, mobs last month

One day after guns were fired on the Delmar Loop two Saturdays ago, the mayors of St. Louis and University City, their respective police chiefs and other city representatives, met with Washington University representation at the Moonrise Hotel to discuss Loop security.

University City and St. Louis Metropolitan police have added patrols to the Loop in an attempt to keep visitors from getting out of hand, while WUPD will increase its own policing of the areas south of the Loop and where students live, freeing up University City police to patrol the Loop.

The increased presences come on the heels of two separate incidents on Saturday, March 31, the first in which 300 youth congregated on the Loop and resulting fights ended in gunshots.

Lehman Walker, city manager of University City, added that University City will be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy, meaning that misbehavior and violation of city ordinances—such as vandalism, theft or peace disturbances—will not be tolerated.

Officials said last month’s incidents are unusual and warrant follow-up.

“I think everything in the Loop really is even-keeled as it always is. One two-hour incident … generates a lot of media buzz, but really is an aberration. It’s an anomaly,” Joe Edwards, the owner of numerous Loop businesses including the Moonrise Hotel, Blueberry Hill and the Pageant, said.

This is not the first time for the Delmar Loop to experience similar problems. Last April a series of changes were proposed to control youth on the Loop after a police officer was injured trying to break up a group of 50 to 100 youth. Other business owners had reported improper behavior, such as stealing forks off of plates and general rowdiness. University City City Hall responded to the complaints by proposing a new ordinance which would impose a strict anti-loitering policy. A stricter curfew was also suggested but never voted on.

At around 8:38 p.m. around Skinker Boulevard and Delmar Boulevard, around 300 youth began getting rowdy and shots were fired, but no one was injured.

In a separate incident a little after 11 p.m. on March 31, a 19-year-old and 17-year-old were hospitalized after being shot outside of Church’s Chicken.

In addition to added patrols, St. Louis police have brought a truck in which people can be held and processed, allowing police to stay on the Loop instead of having to head back to the police station.

University City also plans to install a $160,000 camera surveillance system on the Loop in June.

  • H Stuart

    Dylan, I am not sure if you live on the loop or if you often hang out on the loop but if you went to WashU I am guessing you spent some time there. I moved back to STL last March into the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood and have loved it. However, my bedroom window faces the backside of a rundown building and an empty lot right across the street from The Pageant and I will say that Friday and Saturday nights get “sketchy” for lack of a better word right behind my house. I can hear every loud conversation every night and in the case recently flurry aka “mob” it was incredibly scary hearing the fight begin. The cops came on the scene after it started. I take all articles with a grain of salt but this STLToday article talks about how the innocent crowd began,

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/how-online-posts-foreshadowed-delmar-loop-mayhem/article_13e11ed9-b6a7-5b3b-8ca5-007bdc765583.html
    Last year I moved into my new house almost immediately before the shooting and was able to watch the shooter run behind my house and hide the gun behind my dumpster. Again this year, after the innocent “mob” was broken up I was able to see the shooter, (at least according to the description of someone wearing a green shirt). I heard the 5 or 6 shots and went to look behind my house and saw the guy running down the alley from Churchs chicken and then wouldnt you know it, through my locked gate he broke through, through my yard and into my neighborhood followed closely by others.

    Point is there is a problem. I dont know why you brought race into it at all. There are stupid kids running around with guns shooting people in an area that I call home, I dont care what they look like, I just want them gone.

    H Stuart

  • Dylan Suher

    A series of questions for the writer of this article:

    What is the difference between a mob and a group and a crowd? Surely we think differently of a mob then we think of a group or even a crowd, and in particular, these terms imply differences in how law enforcement is permitted to treat the people in these groups, but these three different words can be used to describe the same assembly of people. Additionally, consider the following passage:

    “This is not the first time for the Delmar Loop to experience similar problems. Last April a series of changes were proposed to control youth on the Loop after a police officer was injured trying to break up a group of 50 to 100 youth. Other business owners had reported improper behavior, such as stealing forks off of plates and general rowdiness. ”

    Do we know what prompted the officer to break up this group? Or how he was injured? Obviously, it’s a serious thing if an officer of the law is injured, but it makes a great deal of difference if the officer was attempting to disperse a riotous assembly or if the officer was using force to make sure certain people stayed on the right side of Delmar. And the claims of these businessmen, were they substantiated? Could they possibly have an interest in exaggerating their complaints, or even fashioning them out of whole cloth?

    I mean these sincerely as questions, and I do not necessarily believe that this is an inaccurate account of the situation on the Loop. But you live and more importantly, write in one of the most segregated cities in America, and it is your solemn duty to be aware of the extent to which the discourse of race shapes the way you view and report on St. Louis, and to ask the additional questions. If you are looking for people to talk about black and white on Delmar, you will often be disappointed. But you will hear a lot about “revitalization” and “unruly youth.” I always try to be aware of what lies behind that language.

    Sincerely,
    Dylan Suher ’10