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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:


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


Poll: Concealed Weapons Allowed On Public Transit

The National Riffle Association is in St. Louis and outstate Missouri legislators are trying to change Missouri law to force concealed guns onto public transit. House Bill 1483 was introduced in January but it had it’s first hearing last week in the “General Laws” House committee.  The bill summary:

This bill specifies that a political subdivision in the state cannot prohibit a person with a valid concealed carry endorsement from carrying a concealed firearm onto a train or public bus.

This isn’t about preventing the City of St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Louis County, Richmond Heights or any over “political subdivision” from prohibiting concealed weapons on public transit vehicles. No, this is about preventing the Bi-State Development Corporation, the political subdivision that operates as Metro St. Louis, from prohibiting concealed guns.

ABOVE: Sign on MetroLink train, no such sign exists inside MetroBus vehicles

Metro St. Louis is the Bi-State Development Corporation is joint political subdivision of Missouri & Illinois. I personally don’t have fear using public transit but some seem so struck with fear they feel the need to carry deadly force on their person. The only guns I think should be on public  transit would be those of law enforcement:

Law enforcement officers (including reserve officers, police cadets and turnkeys) may ride whether in or out of uniform. These individuals must present an appropriate badge and identification card to the bus operator or fare inspector when boarding out of uniform. Firefighters may ride free of charge when in uniform and wearing appropriate insignia. These individuals are permitted to ride free of charge because of their ability to assist an operator with dealing with emergency situations that might occur while on the bus. Any of these individuals identified “above”, who accept free transportation are in fact, expected to assist in emergencies in return for their free transportation. (Metro FAQ)

What do you think about concealed guns on public transit? The weekly poll is in the right sidebar. Vote there and share your thoughts below.

– Steve Patterson




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