.

Quick Action Follows Incidents on Delmar Loop

Officials from University City and the city of St. Louis met Sunday to discuss Saturday's fight and shootings.

Almost a year after Delmar Loop business owners took their to the , another incident Saturday brings the issue back to the forefront. 

A crowd of teenagers fought in the area Saturday night, leaving two with gunshot wounds. The incidents happened on Delmar Blvd. in the city of St. Louis. By Sunday evening, people were shopping and eating in the Loop, with no indication of the turmoil of 24 hours earlier. 

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police responded around 8:38 p.m. to the area of Skinker and Delmar boulevards, where a crowd of about 200 to 300 youths had congregated. Fights broke out, and one person fired shots into the air, police said.

Then, after 11 p.m., shots were fired in Church's Chicken's parking lot at the corner of Delmar and Skinker.

One victim was shot in the arm and the other in the abdomen. A 19 year old is in critical condition and a 17 year old in stable condition, Fox 2 News reported Sunday.

Officials from University City and the City of St. Louis met Sunday with Loop business owners. Mayor Shelley Welsch and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay stressed the safety of the Loop area. 

KMOX reported that Joe Edwards, owner of and , said at Sunday's press conference that this was an isolated incident.

"Don’t let one night paint a picture that’s inaccurate. Enjoy The Loop," Edwards said. "Don’t be held hostage by the fact that a couple of kids got a bit out of hand.”

Curfews

St. Louis and University City have curfews for for those under 16. In University City the curfew 9 p.m. and in St. Louis the curfew is 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

Surveillance Cameras

A project to put surveillance cameras up in the Loop is progressing and the installation of the first cameras is expected by June. 

U City's Director of Public Works, Parks and Forestry Richard Wilson  on the progress of the $160,000 system at its last meeting in March.

The cameras will be attached to buildings and will provide  with a view of the street and public parking lots. While the cameras had been in the works for years, business owners , which involved hundreds of unruly young people.

Social Media

The incident sparked conversations on Facebook and Twitter Sunday. Bill Schwulst used Storify to capture conversations on the incident. To read over comments, Facebook posts and Tweets on the topic, click here.

George April 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM
It is completely naive to call an area safe when such a comment defies the reality of violent incidents and police activity in addition to reports from business owners. Until reality is faced, there is no hope for genuine change that makes the area truly safe.
Earl Higgins April 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Would University City's expensive new camera system have helped prevent this incident? This didn't even happen in University City so I'm thinking the answer is "no". If my logic is wrong, please, anyone, educate me. Thanks!
Earl Higgins April 02, 2012 at 01:27 PM
We need more law abiding, peaceful citizens to come out and enjoy all that The Loop has to offer, not fewer! Show the hooligans we will not surrender! If we decide to stay home in fear, then the hooligans win.
Patricia Kyle Dennis April 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Staying home in fear does not work for me. My home is right behind where the shootings occurred. I was in my back yard when I heard the shots. These are not "isolated incidents." The Loop is no longer a safe and friendly place to visit or live. Residents, business people, police, and government representatives need to cooperate to find creative short and long term solutions--NOW, before the Loop goes the way of Gaslight Square.
Lynda Wolpert April 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM
We need more safe and positive things for teenagers to do. Curfews are not the answer, because all curfews do is restrict the teenagers' options. Teenagers are incredibly social beings, and they will find and create opportunities to be social if we don't provide them. Teenagers have an incredible need to belong, and it is the community's responsibility to help them feel part of something. I don't have an exact solution, but it seems to me that we should be looking for ways to meet them where they are at instead of treating them like criminals or problems with which to be dealt.
John Clark April 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I came down to the Loop as a teenager growing up in Ballwin, and I was glad there wasn't a curfew then. Finding rare records at Vintage Vinyl and going to the midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show are some of my best high school memories. Of course, I knew how to act, especially around adults: sometimes a bit inappropriate, I'm sure, but never threatening or intimidating. I taught high school for 15 years in a very rough school, and I've seen in the Loop recently what I saw in my school: Rule/law "enforcement" consisting of breaking up the crowd, telling the offender to stop and move along. Experience tells me that all that does is push the problem to another area, for someone else to deal with. It also, unfortunately, emboldens the worst offenders into thinking that their behavior was acceptable, and that behavior then escalates. So, what do we need to do? Those people who are unwilling to confirm to the social standards of the Loop (those who block sidewalks by walking and standing in giant groups, scream profanity at each other across Delmar, attempt to intimidate people just for the apparent fun of it) must be dealt with harshly. It does no good to push them down the street. Warn them, catalog them (take a picture with your phone), and when they are engaging in such behavior again, deal with them. Take them in, make their parents come get them. And then, we can all enjoy the Loop and it's eclectic vibe, even teenagers.
Earl Higgins April 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I agree 100% with John, great comments. We can show the troublemakers we absolutely will not tolerate this behavior!
Earl Higgins April 02, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I agree with much of what Lynda says, however I believe curfews, correctly enforced, hand-in-hand with creating other opportunities for teens is the answer. We can and should do both. Call me old-fashioned, but unsupervised 14-year-olds don't need to be out after 9 PM. If it is so important to their social well-being to be up that late at that young age, it's reasonable to require that a parent or adult authority figure be with them. I for one would be willing to volunteer to do something like that.
Christine Mackey-Ross April 02, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Sorry Mr. Edwards but this was not an isolated incident. I got caught in one of these mobs, and I think the term is accurate, taking four children for ice cream last year. I've lived on the loop for 15 years and it was the first time I really felt unsafe. It was only a matter of time until shots were fired. We're lucky more weren't injured. I agree young people need place to go and socialize, but in the meantime,we need to be rounding up participants en masse and having their parents come bail them out. We need to be giving citations for curfew violations and getting serious or the Loop is going to be the next Gas Light Square. in the upcoming election, I'd like to hear how the candidates are going to address this. Christine Mackey-Ross
Maria April 02, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Yep. The camera plans are limited to U City. But the movement of the mob was east to west and at 9 p.m., west to east, as the police officers were politely asking the mobs to move across the city line to St. Louis City. Limit Avenue (the line between U City and St. Louis City) is were they were asked to cross over. There were over 100 police cars in the area of Skinker and Delmar minutes after the first incident. It is my understanding the shooter(s) were taken in. We were grilling in our backyard, watching the basketball game with friends and neighbors. Our home is directly behind Delmar, on Limit Avenue. We walked out and saw the police do an amazing job. We also saw a young girl slapping around a black woman police officer. The officer remained calm and another officer came to her aid. What to do? There's a lot of anger going on in mobs held together by frustration. Teens need a place to hang on a nice Saturday night. Teens want change in their lives. They have a lot of potential political impact. Get a mob going in neighborhoods that need to wake up and take ownership. Use your power to change things for the good. Places where your grandmother doesn't feel safe. March in the streets, mob in the streets, take over. Then, when you've made a change for the better, we can all shake hands.
Jeff Hales April 02, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Ms. Carr just posted a response to the weekend's events in The Loop on her site today: "We must first ensure that our police department is at full funding and full staff. As a council member I would committed to working with the City Manager and U. City Police Chief Adams to make sure the resources are available to the UCPD. I believe it’s always best practice to be proactive, rather than reactive. We need to send the message that our laws and ordinances will be followed and disturbances will not be tolerated. At the same time, we should engage the Mayor’s Task Force on Seniors & Youth to find positive solutions and other opportunities for young people. Finally, we need to take a more proactive and collaborative approach to communication not only with St. Louis City, but with Metro as well. There is a lot more we can do to be prepared. We need to open communication channels with Metro so that Metro can alert both the SLPD and UCPD that large groups may be heading to The Loop. We should also attempt to monitor chatter on twitter and facebook for advance notice of an impending mass gathering that could be prevented. The Loop is one of the jewels of University City and we need to ensure that its future is vibrant. We must continue to work with the Loop Businesses. Their future is our future and we need to ensure that The Loop will continue to be a wonderfully diverse place where people are safe and businesses thrive." http://paulettecarr4ucity.com/?p=416
Jeff Hales April 02, 2012 at 07:48 PM
She also addresses a ton of other issues on her YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/CarrForUCity
George Lenard April 03, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Jeff: Thanks (not) for turning discussion of a serious community issue into an election-eve campaign commercial. John, Earl, and Lynda: thanks for constructive suggestions. Meaningful activities and places to go besides the streets don't prevent violence by bad actors, but they can reduce the size of the crowds of teens roaming the Loop. I know many people would volunteer to provide adult supervision at a youth center. I'm not sure why the police were taken by surprise this time, but my hope and prediction is we'll now see the same pattern as last year: very tough and visible policing of teens in the Loop, with a substantial deterrent effect -- to the point that even the best-behaved kids have little interest in going there on weekend evenings. Sad, but maybe necessary.
Earl Higgins April 03, 2012 at 02:22 PM
The problem as I see it is that different curfew times apply to "The City (StL)" and "University City". What happens at 9 PM is, University City police politely ask younger teens to exit University City, which they by and large do. Of course, their jurisdiction ends at Limits Avenue, so there is a compression effect pushing a "wave" of teens towards the Delmar-Skinker intersection. This creates a "perfect storm" for trouble. If you look back, this is exactly where the worst problems have happened. Somehow there really needs to be uniform curfew applied East AND West of Limits Avenue. As much as anything, this is a failure of governance. I'm not saying curfew is the only answer, but it is a critical component of a larger plan.
Patricia Kyle Dennis April 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM
As a resident of the East Loop, I wrote to Alderman Lyda Krewson this morning with my concerns. I urge all of you who are following this thread to write to your neighborhood government representatives and let them know that we want their help in finding a solution. It is US, the adults, who need to take responsibility for providing teenagers with what they need while setting appropriate and effective limits.
Billy Frank Thornton April 04, 2012 at 06:00 AM
The business community is always complaining about disorderly conduct in the Loop...while hundreds of out of control youth is summed up as an isolated incident. This isolated incident will not be the last.
Chris Strawn April 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
This incident betrays more than the fact that teens need more places to go. The fact that some of these teens were carrying FIREARMS and were out looking to fight is the deeper and far more vexing issue. Kids growing up in communities where parents are not suficiently involved in their lives, and in a culture where violence and easy money, rather than academic success, is celebrated, are the underlaying problems. And yes, poverty is a factor, but so is the local culture.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something