(St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Police Department is using a new strategy to curb crime.

Aggravated assaults with firearms are up about 20 percent so far this year over last year.

The police department recently began working with University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor Rick Rosenfeld to reduce violent crime.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says the new strategy is to flood high-crime areas with officers during evening hours.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis police change procedure in light of uptick in violent crime

Responding to a recent spate of violent crime in some parts of the city that have been thought of as safe, St. Louis police are changing some of their officers' procedures and duties.

Twenty-three-year-old Megan Boken was fatally shot on Saturday in the Central West End,  and several women were robbed at gunpoint near Busch Stadium this week.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ill. DNR director cannot rule out park closures

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

The director of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources says his department will do all it can to keep the state's parks open after the failure of a $2 increase in license plate fees that would have provided a funding stream the the DNR.

But Marc Miller says he can't rule anything out, because the department has seen its budget slashed by 50 percent over the last decade.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

East St. Louis nightclubs and other local businesses are bankrolling extra weekend police patrols after a series of violent crimes.

Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the city needs more officers on the street but cannot afford them on its own.

“This is taking already existing officers and paying them to work this special detail," Parks said. "A detail that will be about six officers downtown and another two in the rest of the city where there might be late night activity.”

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UPDATE 12:35 p.m. 12-1-10:

Information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that the shootings may not be gang related, as was previously stated:

Police on Wednesday did an about-face and said the Reliable Funeral Home shootings may not be gang related, despite previous public statements from Chief Dan Isom."The Chief initially said at the scene that he thought it may be the result of feuding between two gangs but further investigation has not been able to support that," said Erica Van Ross, a spokeswoman for the deparment. "After learning that the parties may have initially become involved in an argument at the funeral, this appears to be, at this point at least, stemming from a personal dispute."

Police say two people are dead after a gang-related shooting outside a St. Louis funeral home while a service was being held inside.
Two other people were injured in the shooting about noon Tuesday at Reliable Funeral Home.