Loop Business Owners Complain About Youth in the Loop; City Council Looks to Install Security Cameras

The University City City Council said it's looking at installing security cameras in the Loop to help curb rowdy youths.

The City Council heard an earful Monday night from Loop business owners fed up with groups of young people running amok in the Loop on weekends.

"It's absolutely a (expletive) hole," said . He said the unruly mobs of teen-agers are driving away business."You've got to stand up to these people," he pleaded with University City councilmembers.  He said loitering laws need to be enforced.

The City is looking at installing security cameras in the Loop, and is currently accepting bids for the cameras,  said , who added "we are aware of the seriousness of this issue."

"We're interested in improving all the security in the Loop and one of the ways we can do that is if we have surveillance cameras, so we  can basically monitor activities in the Loop," said City Manager Lehman Walker.

Jessica Bueler, owner of and president of the proposed several recommendations to the council; modify existing curfew from 9pm for people 17 and under to 6pm for those 17 and under and implement it seven days a week. Also, attach a $200.00 fine to those who violate the curfew. Matthew Dawson, the chef at described to the council how he yelled at a 13-year-old for flicking a lit cigarette at a bartender.

Jeff Weintrop, vice chair of the Loop Special Business District and owner of says the teens have no fear of authority and are looking for a confrontation. He suggested having paddy wagons to round up the youths and keep them off the street. "I need your help. The Loop needs your help," said Weintrop.

Walker said this past weekend, four police officers patrolled the Loop on Friday,  five on Saturday and four on Sunday. He said the City will review the current curfew and evaluate staffing levels to see if more police patrols need to be in the Loop on weekends.

Michael Alter, owner of , said he was late to the council meeting because of a staff meeting where workers were discussing whether to cut back hours on the weekends and close earlier.

He said he spent this past weekend at Fitz's and was shocked by the behavior. "It is terrible for our businesses and it is terrible for our community." 

"We've had episodes inside our business where our managers have been threatened by minors.  Not politely threatened. Meanly threatened," he said.

Alter said the issues are real and need to be taken seriously. "It needs to be addressed quickly or all things we've worked hard for are going to slip away and slip away fast."

Councilmember Byron Price (First Ward) said the majority of the problem kids are not from University City. They come from other municipalities he said.

"It is the new Galleria outside," said Councilmember L. Michael Glickert (Second Ward). "I don't think any of us have experienced this kind of phenomenon and we need to address it...and we will come down hard."

Councilmember Glickert promised residents that the Loop would be cleaned up. "You're going to go there safely and you're going to leave there safely...It's going to happen. They are not going to take over our Loop."

Dan April 12, 2011 at 02:56 PM
This is sickening. As if we don't have enough problems right now in the city. The problem is compounded by the fact that the UC/STLC border is dividing the loop, so two municipalities are involved which only means it will be twice as hard to get resolve. What is the answer here? How can you kick people out of a public street? Loitering? Well walking in a shopping district could be deemed loitering but it is not. PLEASE, if you have possible solutions, please share!
H Wills April 12, 2011 at 04:43 PM
This is really sad. I hope they get things under control. I did see a ton and I mean a TON of activity this last weekend. I've never seen the Loop so packed, and police were everywhere. Especially and Skinker/Delmar section. I thought something had happened there were so many, but they were just there in "case" anything erupted. I quickly left. I have a 2 year old. I don't want to be in the mix of a mob or an outbreak of violence, and the ingredients for that was definitely in the air. I think security cameras would be a BIG plus. And follow through on fines and such. You can't have 13 year old's spouting off to managers who are working. That's just ridiculous.
H Wills April 12, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Also -- I'm not sure "curfews" are going to do anything. It's just a rule on paper for a timing issue. Maybe there should be a rock climbing thing near by so people can get out their aggression there? I don't know.
Lorna April 12, 2011 at 06:30 PM
3rd Ward Rogue April 12, 2011 at 08:31 PM
Find out who their parents are and hold them responsible also. This was a Chief Adams proposal, but our police force may have to work with the City.


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