Durbin shares plans to boost security in East St. Louis public housing

Feb 22, 2012

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is touting new measures to increase security for public housing residents in East St. Louis. The federally-funded plan includes installing cameras at six high-rise properties and hiring a new security coordinator.

"We're going to be putting up lighting and fencing," Durbin said. "We're going to move forward to try to make sure the almost 4,500 residents of public housing in East St. Louis have a safer place to live."

Durbin also called on East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks to rein in the city's night clubs and liquor stores, which he said would reduce violent crime. During a press conference outside Orr Weathers Senior High Rise Wednesday, Durbin said the city needed Parks' help.

"We need the cooperation of the city, Mayor," Durbin said. "We need you to do your part, which means to make sure that we rein in this club scene, stop these late-night liquor sales, put a police force on the street that can help us keep this area safe."

But, Parks said the city's economy depends on its late-night business. "We in East St. Louis count heavily on that club scene for a lot of our revenue," Parks said. "And what we're not going to do is dry up our economy based upon a few opinions."

Parks flatly rejected Durbin's call to cut off liquor store sales at 1 a.m. Violent crime in East St. Louis is almost four times Illinois' state-wide average.