UCity manager: behavior on Loop improved
Despite concerns last spring about students’ disorderly conduct on the Delmar Loop, behavioral issues have subsided considerably in recent months, officials say.
According to University City Manager Lehman Walker, an increase in law enforcement officials on the Loop beginning last spring has yielded positive results.
“We’ve increased police presence and surveillance in the Loop, and we were working with the Loop special business district and with Washington University to ensure that the Loop remains an active entertainment center, and we’re very happy with our success,” Walker said.
Behavioral issues on the Loop have included excessive noise, littering and other disruptive activity, leading many vendors on the Loop, as well as University City residents, to voice complaints.
A particular incident in April left one police officer injured after trying to disband a group of 50 to 100 rowdy youth.
The University City Council recently voted against Bill 9112, which proposed tighter restrictions on loitering.
The bill, which would make it illegal to “stand, loiter or walk upon any public sidewalk or street so as to obstruct or unreasonably interfere with the use thereof,” was criticized for vague wording that would make enforcement difficult and too subjective.
According to Walker, there is no revised legislation being currently pursued to address this issue.
“We decided it wasn’t necessary to proceed because we were seeing more responsible behavior,” he said.
A curfew of 9 p.m. for youth under the age of 16 is already in place.
Some students say that they have noticed the increased security measures in place on the Loop and appreciate the changes.
Peter Walker, a junior who has lived near the street both this and last year, has noticed the changes.
“I didn’t really experience any violence or gangs of roving youth, but there is definitely an increased security presence on the Loop, like cops just wandering the streets and talking to people and stuff,” he said. “They’ve definitely beefed it up a notch. I’m not sure whether or not it affects us as much, but they’re certainly doing something.”
Peter Walker says that, while he does feel safe near his residence, he feels even safer when he is directly on the Loop.
Sophomore Moira Killoran, a pole-vaulter, often has to walk alone to the Loop for practice. She said the increased security along with the University’s new blue lights has made her feel safer during her walks.
“I’ve definitely noticed that the path walking over there is a lot nicer with all the blue lights and wider sidewalks and it feels a lot more comfortable,” Killoran said.
Lehman Walker is optimistic that the positive behavioral trend in months following the incidents this spring will continue now that students have returned to school.
“We’re hoping that everyone who comes to the University City Loop continues to enjoy themselves and behave in a responsible manner,” he said.