Crime
10:43 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Police Seek To Ease South City Safety Concerns

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks at a Bosnian community meeting about crime prevention.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks at a Bosnian community meeting about crime prevention.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Many Bosnian residents in south St. Louis City continue to feel unnerved by the murder of Haris Gogic, a 19-year-old convenience store worker who was killed three weeks ago.

Days later a 30-year old 7-Eleven worker, Mon Rai, was shot death.  

President of the Bosnian Chamber of Commerce, Sadik Kukic, said some members of the community have considering leaving south city in favor of the county or another city all together.

“I’ve lived in St. Louis City for 19 years, almost 20 years since I’ve come to the United States and I have owned property in St. Louis for 16 years,” Kukic said.  “For the first time after 19 years, it crossed my mind to move out into the county.”   

The Bevo area where the shootings took place is home to a large Bosnian immigrant population, and several residents joined Kukic in saying they've felt unsafe lately. 

The St. Louis City Police Department tried to ease those concerns during a town hall style meeting Wednesday night.

Police told residents that overall crime is down in the neighborhood by seven percent this year, but acknowledged the recent murders have left some residents uneasy.

In response, there’s been an increase in the number of regular foot patrols.

“When they can put a face and our demeanor, right in front of them, they’re more apt to call us when they something suspicious.  It builds up that trust, and that’s what we have to do,” said Major Jerry Leyshock.

To ensure they’re maintaining a connection with the community, Leyshock said they track meetings with businesses owners and community members.

Police Chief Sam Dotson also spoke at the meeting, urging residents to attend sentencing hearings and push for judges to hand down more jail time for convicted criminals. 

Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd