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Missouri’s Sex Offender Registry Is Overcrowded

One might think the Missouri Sex Offender Registry would be a useful tool when determining where to buy a house, or let your kid walk to school.  Think again! Legislators tried earlier this year to change the requirements so the registry would have fewer listed and be more helpful to the rest of us:

Currently, Missouri has more than 12,000 people on its sex offender registry. Crimes range from extreme rape cases to consensual sex with minors. The new law could cut as many as 5,000 people in its first year and 1,000 people each year after, according to a fiscal study. 

Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, argued that public opinion has pushed the registry too far – adding people who are not threats to society – so that it’s no longer effective. (stltoday.com)

ABOVE: Registered sex offenders around Chesterfield’s city hall, blue dots represent work address and red represent home address.

JOPLIN, MO– An effort to change the makeup of the Missouri Sex Offender Registry misses the deadline. House Bill 1700 was approved by state representatives, but failed to come to a vote in the senate. The measure would have created a tiered system for sex offenders. It also would have removed some convictions from the list. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says the issue will likely return in the 2013 session. (source)

A person on the registry that had consensual sex with his minor girlfriend contacted me about the need to change Missouri’s law, I was shocked as I researched it. This “Romeo and Juliet” scenario is a common reason for ending up being labeled a sex offender, which greatly hampers employment prospects. Missouri’s age of consent is 17 so consensual sex between a 16 year old female and a 21 year old male is 2nd Degree Rape per Missouri statutes.

I searched for many addresses throughout the region and everywhere blue (work) and home (red) dots appeared. A dot nearby doesn’t mean your loved ones are in danger — the offender could just be someone that didn’t realize he was just a bit too old for his girlfriend — in Missouri. In other states the age of consent might be younger, or older, than Missouri.

You want to know about the Michael Devlin’s, not a young man that got caught with his girlfriend months before she’d have been legal.

— Steve Patterson

 

East St. Louis Metal Thieves Leave Dangerous Holes

August 13, 2012 Crime, Featured, Metro East 3 Comments

As sorta a hobby I enjoy looking around East St. Louis. In July I was exploring the area to the west of the Emerson Park MetroLink station (aerial), I was shocked to see how many manhole covers and sewer grates were missing.  Here are some examples:

ABOVE: A tire is in the hole created by a missing manhole cover in East St. Louis.
ABOVE: Sewer drain missing grate.
ABOVE: Sewer grate and manhole cover missing
ABOVE: More missing sewer grates

The curbs, sidewalks, and yes sewers all look relatively new, perhaps redone in 2001 when the adjacent light rail station opened? If you remember the saga of rescuing Jessica McClure from a backyard well then you can understand how dangerous these are and why old tires are in some.

— Steve Patterson

 

Police Block Law-Abiding Pedestrians On Washington Ave With Parked Tow Truck

Watching the changing police strategy on Washington Ave has become something of a hobby for me. It’s free entertainment, the only drawback is I have to be up late to participate.  My prior post on the police crackdown: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Overkill On Washington Avenue.

ABOVE: News van at Wash Ave & Tucker at 9:26pm on Friday June 15, 2012

The focus of everyone is primarily the two blocks between Tucker (12th) and 14th, although efforts some nights have been extended as far east as 9th Street. Few saw the display of force in front of the convention center between 8th-9th.

ABOVE: A St. Louis Police tow truck was parked, unattended, on the pedestrian sidewalk all evening June 15, 2012. Pedestrians were forced to squeeze by on both sides of the large truck

A flashing sign read “LOUD MUSIC EQUALS TOWED CAR.” To prove the point the police parked a tow truck on the sidewalk so it’d be visible to motorists…oh never mind those pedestrians downtown visiting our city and spending money.  See for yourself in this 1+ minute video:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G85ncWpC3AE

The humorous part is the police closed Washington Ave just a 100 feet or so further west, forcing all traffic to turn right onto 9th Street. Meanwhile down at 6th Street cruisers are standing out of sunroofs (Cruising Is Stupid). The officer I talked to said the tow truck was the idea of Chief Dan Isom and Mayor Francis Slay.

Hopefully we can manage to value pedestrians someday.

— Steve Patterson

 

Cruising Is Stupid

The police face a couple of unrelated issues on Washington Ave. Drunk people leaving clubs and taking disputes into the street. But another is dealing with cruisers that drive up and down the street being…stupid.

ABOVE: A person standing in a sunroof on Washington Ave. June 10, 2012 12:13am

I’ve seen numerous people hanging out of windows, standing in an open sunroof and motorcyclists revving their engines. While the police are busy cracking down on the blocks west of 9th the cruisers are out east of 9th.

I’m not an expert in law enforcement but having tourists walking from their hotels to dinner witnessing such lawlessness just blocks away from the occupied zone can’t leave a positive impression.

– Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Overkill On Washington Avenue

A week ago tonight the St. Louis Metropolitan Police were all over four blocks of Washington Ave  (10th-14th). This will be my fifth summer as a downtown resident and last weekend seemed very familiar based on the last few year.

It goes something like this:

  1. Zero police presence during the busiest times (late friday & saturday nights)
  2. Something bad happens, usually a late night shooting
  3. Everyone gets upset
  4. Elected officials and police develop a plan
  5. Following weekend make a huge show of force
  6. Next weekend police nowhere to be found
What will tonight and tomorrow night look like? My guess is nothing like last weekend.
ABOVE: The St. Louis Police "Incident Command Center" truck was parked on Tucker at Washington Ave.
ABOVE: Flares were used at 14th Street to make sure drivers saw the barricades

As officers began placing the barricades to block eastbound Washington at 14th the officers were wearing dark uniforms and the lighting is poor, drivers couldn’t see them. One officer yelled at a couple of drivers like this was an occupied police state. Maybe the flares were necessary given the poor execution of going from open to closed road. The number of police was astonishing, blue uniforms and vehicles everywhere.

Personally I think closing the street to traffic killed the vibrancy of the street.  Will this be sustained all summer or will it be impossible to find a single cop on these four blocks tonight?

– Steve Patterson

 

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