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Parking Enforcement Officer Kept Putting A Blue Bag In A Vehicle Displaying A Fake Ticket

If you drive & park in an urban area you’ve likely received a parking ticket one time or another. So it’s no surprise that I frequently see tickets on vehicles on my trips to/from the grocery store 7 blocks East of my loft. Earlier this month I noticed the same vehicle parked in the same spot as the day before — with a ticket just like the day before. How unusual.

Thursday August 13th 11:21am, Eastbound Locust between 15th & 16th
Thursday August 13th 11:21am, Eastbound Locust between 15th & 16th

Then I noticed a Parking Enforcement car park behind it. Maybe they’re about to boot it, I thought. I go to the corner and then across the street so I can get a good view. The woman from Parking Enforcement grabbed a blue bag out of the back seat of her official vehicle and walks toward the ticketed vehicle.    I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

She opened the front door, unlocked the other doors, opened the back door and left the blue bag on the rear seat. She locks the doors at the front, returns to her official vehicle, drives off. Huh?

A Parking Enforcement Officer (PEO) takes a blue bag from her official vehicle and puts it in the backseat of the ticketed vehicle! Why? What’s in the bag? What started as a curiosity about a vehicle getting ticketed for parking in the exact same spot quickly became a curiosity about the connection between this vehicle, the PEO, and the contents of the blue bag.

Tuesday August 18 1:11pm
Tuesday August 18 1:11pm

I thought by now the ticket had to be a decoy, but I needed proof.

Monday August 24th 12:59pm
Monday August 24th 12:59pm, on the way to the grocery store
At 1:35pm I rolled back the envelope to conform the "ticket" was a blank.
At 1:35pm I rolled back the envelope to conform the “ticket” was a blank.

I’ve documented the fake ticket, but I still needed the bag drop off.

At 3:19pm I'm across the street trying not to look conspicuous -- as well as a shaved head guy in a wheelchair can.
At 3:19pm I’m across the street trying not to look conspicuous — as well as a shaved head guy in a wheelchair can.
At 3:43pm the PEO is getting  a blue bag out of her official vehicle.
At 3:43pm the PEO is getting a blue bag out of her official vehicle.
As before she walks to the other vehicle
As before she walks to the other vehicle
3:44pm she opens the driver's door
3:44pm she opens the driver’s door
With the driver's door still open she puts the blue bag in back. She closes the rear door and locked the doors from the front.
With the driver’s door still open she puts the blue bag in back. She closes the rear door and locked the doors from the front.
3:45pm she's back in her work vehicle about to pull away
3:45pm she’s back in her work vehicle about to pull away

At this point I feel I have enough to blog about my observations and report to Parking Enforcement and Treasurer Tishaura Jones.  I still have unanswered questions: Is this her vehicle? Is she dropping off her gym bag for after work?

Two days later, Wednesday last week, I go to the grocery store and the vehicle isn’t there both times I pass by the space. Five minutes later I go out in front of my building to talk to someone — they’ve left but I can see the vehicle now parked there. I go down and see it has the fake ticket under the wiper — of course it does!

A man approaches me and starts yelling at me.

“Why you fucking with my car?”

“You’d better mind your own fucking business!”

Then something about being in a wheelchair. By this point I’m leaving — I felt threatened and vulnerable. But across Locust at 16th I turned to look back and take one more photo.

Wednesday August 26th at 12:51pm, the vehicle and guy who threatened me in the distance -- he's wearing a red shirt with white shorts & cap. .
Wednesday August 26th at 12:51pm, the vehicle and guy who threatened me in the distance — he’s wearing a red shirt with white shorts & cap. .
Here's a blurry cropped view.
Here’s a blurry cropped view.

Given that I was threatened I called 911, the police looked at my photos to get the vehicle plate and city number on the parking enforcement car. They talked to the PEO supervisor.  I then emailed the head of Parking Enforcement, Tishaura Jones, and her Chief of Staff — a reply said they’d investigate.  At this point I don’t know anymore than you do.

At the very least this guy and the PEO were in cahoots with the fake ticket, but I think there’s much more to the story. When, and if, I find out I’ll let you know.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Downtown & Downtown West Neighborhoods Should Be Merged Into One

Technically Downtown, a city neighborhood, is only East of Tucker Blvd (12th). So much of what we think of as downtown is considered Downtown West.

Map of Downtown West Neighborhood bounded by Chouteau, Jefferson, Cole, & Tucker; click image to view on city website
Map of Downtown West Neighborhood bounded by Chouteau, Jefferson, Cole, & Tucker; click image to view on city website

All of the following are located not in Downtown, but in Downtown West:

  • Police Headquarters (old & new)
  • City Hall
  • Peabody Opera House
  • Scottrade Center
  • Main U.S. Post Office
  • Soliders Memorial (WWI)
  • Central Library
  • City Museum
  • Campbell House
  • Downtown YMCA
  • Union Station
  • Schlafly’s Tap Room
  • Civic Center MetroLink/MetroBus
  • Transportation Center (Amtrak, Greyhound, Megabus)

But I don’t want news reporters outside police HQ to say “Reporting from Downtown West”, I think we should combine the two.

From a 1989 Post-Dispatch article:

SECTIONS OF St. Louis have an identity crisis, says Mayor Vincent C. SchoemehlJr. ”There’s this impression that north St. Louis is some monolithic area that’s unfit to live in,” Schoemehl said. ”Frankly, there’re some very good neighborhoods in north St. Louis, as good as any around. But when you hear about a murder or a rape or some other crime occurring in north St. Louis, all the neighborhoods in north St. Louis become tarred with the same brush.” The identity crisis has sparked a campaign, beginning this week, that stresses neighborhoods – 74 to be exact. No longer will there just be the North Side, the South Side, the Central West End or downtown. ”This is one of our attempts to market the neighborhoods of the city,” said Clara Kinner, director of communications for the city’s Economic Development Corp. ”People should understand that there are several different neighborhoods with several different personalities and attributes,” she said. Many, but not all, of the new neighborhood boundaries will coincide with the boundaries set by existing neighborhood associations, Kinner said. (P4, October 15, 1989)

So when the city first created the neighborhood map it had 74 neighborhoods, but currently it is 79:

There are 79 different neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive style and characteristics. Many of these neighborhoods have very active community organizations and associations. Some are on the rebound, while others have remained stable for decades, and still others are striving for renewal. A variety of sources for information about neighborhoods exist, both on and off this website. None of these sources include everything there is to know about a neighborhood, but by putting together information from each of these sources, one may get a sense of the incredible variety of lifestyles available in the diverse neighborhoods of the City of St. Louis. (St. Louis Neighborhoods)

Now you might be wondering if the Downtown West neighborhood association would object to being consolidated with Downtown’s NA. Well, there has never been a separate Downtown West neighborhood association. The Downtown Neighborhood Association boundaries had included all of Downtown and about half of Downtown West, but last month their bylaws were amended to expand their boundaries to match both.

The Downtown Community Improvement District boundaries also includes much of Downtown West. Just because people in 1989 wanted to better identify where murders happened doesn’t mean we can’t alter the map 26 years later. It’s time to reduce the 79 neighborhoods to 78!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Not Interested in Poll on Hot Spot Policing

July 15, 2015 Crime 1 Comment

Only ten votes in Sunday’s poll, less than a third of the usual number. This could be because 1) I moved the poll location from the sidebar to the body post, 2) because of the topic/phrasing, or 3) a combination.

Q: How effective is “Hot Spot Policing”?

  1. Somewhat good 5 [33.33%]
  2. Good 3 [20%]
  3. TIE 2 [13.33%]
    1. Somewhat poor
    2. Unsure/No Answer
    3. Very poor
  4. Neutral 1 [6.67%]
  5. TIE: 0 [0%]
    1. Poor
    2. Very good

I have no insight into the question, but “Hot Spot Policing” doesn’t seem to address the root causes of much of our crime in the areas targeted. Some headlines this year:

Perhaps crime would be worse if hot spot policing wasn’t used? We shouldn’t continue ignoring the root causes though.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: How effective is “Hot Spot Policing”?

 

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson is an advocate of “hot spot policing”:

Through hot spots policing strategies, law enforcement agencies can focus limited resources in areas where crime is most likely to occur. The appeal of focusing limited resources on a small number of high-activity crime areas is based on the belief that if crime can be prevented at these hot spots, then total crime across the city might also be reduced. (National Institute of Justice)

This practice also has local critics. For today’s poll I want to see how effective readers think this strategy is.

The poll closes at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri follow Nebraska and abolish the death penalty?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Last week the conservative legislature in neighboring Nebraska voted to override their governor’s veto of a bill to repeal their death penalty:

Lawmakers in Nebraska overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of their vote to repeal the death penalty, making it the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. The vote was 30-19.

As we reported Tuesday, Ricketts, a Republican, vetoed the legislation flanked by law enforcement personnel, murder victims’ family members and state lawmakers who support capital punishment. Opposition to the death penalty in the conservative state came from Republicans who were against it for religious or fiscal reasons, as well as from Democrats and independents. (NPR)

Of course, just because a neighboring state does something it doesn’t mean we should follow them. Still, this is a good public policy subject for a Sunday Poll.  The poll is at the top of the right sidebar of the desktop layout, it’ll close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

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