Is It Worth the Trip from Chesterfield to Delmar Loop?

Former cop considers the risks that could scare off suburbanites, or anyone.

If the Delmar Loop wants people from Chesterfield and West County to be regular customers, shouldn't these "anomalies" be addressed?

I was amused when local officials described the trouble on the Delmar Loop— which included crowds of 300 or more teenagers getting into fights, followed by three people shot—as being an “anomaly.”  

How many more of these “anomalies” before fewer and fewer people flock to U. City? Not from Chesterfield, or other suburbs out this way.

Let’s go back over the last three years.

On Halloween night 2008, Todd Shepherd, an African-American with a deep resentment of whites, went to the Delmar Loop specifically to kill a white police officer. He found University City Police Sgt. Michael King, sitting in his patrol car on Leland Avenue at Delmar, and executed him.

Two months before King was murdered, Chad Garrison, then a reporter and now the managing editor of the Riverfront Times caused an uproar among Loop merchants when he wrote an article detailing how a 6pm curfew for teenagers at The Galleria was causing large groups of teenagers to hang out and cause trouble at the Loop.

Just prior to Garrison’s August 2008 article, a family was assaulted and robbed walking to the Loop Metro stop by a gang of kids. That assault was followed a few days later by a group estimated to be 400 teenagers in which several of the group assaulted an employee of PI pizza restaurant.

In April 2011, local media was reporting more incidents involving marauding groups of teens. It was bad enough that University City had to install surveillance cameras along the Loop—you don’t put up surveillance cameras unless you have a problem. Not only do you have to pay for the cameras, you have to pay for someone to watch them.  

Over the last year, the most popular crime in the Loop has been thefts of cell phones off outside sidewalk tables. Young thieves snatch a PCD (personal communications device) off a table and run, while someone is eating.    

At a recent press conference featuring city officials from University City, St. Louis and Loop businessman Joe Edwards (and his ponytail.) St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay referred to the people involved in the fights and subsequent shootings as “knuckleheads.”

That description led to the following comment, posted on Cop Talk, a St. Louis Police Officers message board:

"Knucklehead" is what my Dad would call me when I left the light on in a vacant room or the front door open with the a\c on. I think shooting up the neighborhood would have evoked a far different response from him!

Would you visit the Loop when you live in Chesterfield? Comments below.

Kurt Greenbaum April 06, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I have and I do with some regularity. I like the Loop a lot. I can't live my life worrying about where the next crime is going to occur. And it can happen anywhere.
Don B April 06, 2012 at 01:03 PM
We happened to be in the Loop at 7 - 10 to attend a concert on last Friday night. Had a heck of a time finding a parking place - the big public lot behind Ciceros was just packed, as was on street parking. In searching for a parking place, we could not help notice the groups of mostly black youths marching up and down Delmar. I saw no maurading, just a strong undeniable presence of youths looking for something to do. These kids probably don't realize what an affect they are having on the area. The Loop is a unique to St Louis venue - a place I like to bring out of town guests. It is one of our unique neighborhoods. But I may not take guests to the loop in the near future to see if all come together and behave in a non-anarchy way. The marching youths last Friday did envoke thoughts of anarchy, and the sane among us may be forced off the sidewalks of the Loop.
Richard L. Turner April 06, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Look what happened to Gaslight Square. We should learn a lesson from that.
Earl Higgins April 08, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I have lived here for 24 years and have never, not once, ever experienced any kind of crime in my neighborhood. Yes, parking can be a pain. But that is more because of the fact that The Loop is a victim of its own success. Crime happens everywhere. Don't leave cell phones out on the table where they might attract sticky fingers. The recent shootings are a major concern to be sure, but simply abandoning The Loop -- "cut and run" -- is admitting that the thugs have won.


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