At the first city council meeting since the March 31 mob and shooting incidents in the Delmar Loop, council members asked for the city's plan to keep Loop patrons safe.
"We have a super overworked police force," said Ward 3 Councilman Byron Price. "We cannot say this is an anomoly — this has happened before and it will happen again."
Price asked that Police Chief Charles Adams explain the University City Police's strategy for the Loop to the city council
Price said he was on Delmar that night, picking up a pizza at Pi.
"Most of them didn't appear to be teenagers; they seemed like young kids," he said. "They were walking through where people eat. People got up when they saw them coming and I don't blame them."
Ward 1 Councilman Stephen Kraft said he also was in the Loop that night and agreed that the groups of kids looked quite young.
City Manager Lehmann Walker said the city has a three-pronged plan to improve security in the Delmar Loop. The plan is:
- Surveillance cameras — The cameras have been in the works for some time and are slated for installation this summer.
- Updating police presence by increasing the number of officers.
- Zero tolerance curfew policy.
University City's curfew is 9 p.m.
Ward 2 Councilman Michael Glickert also asked for a plan from the police department.
"I too was in the Loop that night and it was a disaster," he said. "Two weeks prior (at a city council meeting) I asked if we were ready. Obviously we weren't ready."
Walker told the council that University City did prepare for the warm weather and increased traffic in the Loop.
"We had double the police presence that weekend in anticipation of the nice weather," he said. "There were 1,000 to 1,500 young people out that night — the number of police needed to handle that is not possible."
Walker also reminded council that the incidents in question actually happened in the City of St. Louis and not in University City.
"We have a curfew of 9 p.m. They do not," he said.
Price questioned whether the curfews could be brought in line with each other. "Once the curfew hits in U City, they just head towards Skinker."
Mayor Shelley Welsch said there have been discussions with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other officials about the curfews, but she didn't see them changing.
"That is a decision for their elected representatives," she said. "They have to look at it in light of their other entertainment venues. A change in curfew impacts the entire city of St. Louis, not just the East Loop."
Walker said he will ask Chief Adams to provide council with a full plan for police protection in the Loop.