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Updated: 09/20/2013 6:37 AM
Created: 09/19/2013 4:22 PM KSTP.com | Print |  Email
By: Beth McDonough

Residents Question Reduced Patrols on St. Paul's East Side

Operation Blue Wave, an enforcement push by St. Paul Police, is about to become a thing of the past.

Police presence on the East Side increased after a couple of random and high-profile violent incidents. Now, the extra forces are being dialed back. 

So, folks who live in that neighborhood got together Thursday night at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church to figure out how to pick up the safety slack.

One resident wondered aloud, "why if it's working, why not keep it here?"

It's a common question East Side residents are asking of each other, and of the police department. Leslie McMurray is with the Payne-Phalen Neighborhood District, "there is some concern as you scale back enforcement what will there be to fill the gap?"

It was just a month ago, after a deadly shooting and brutal beating, the city saturated the East Side with 30 extra officers. Folks living in the Payne-Phalen area noticed a difference. Danielle Kieffer says, "we haven't personally seen any crime except for him across the street."

That's where a break-in happened. There have been other reports of assault, vandalism and theft. Of the 427 calls for service in August and September, the special task force took 68 bad guys off the streets and handed out tickets to another 103 people.

City Officials tell KSTP since school has started and weather has turned cooler, they're seeing crime levels go down. That's why officials are pulling back the extra officers there and moving them to other problem areas.

For longtime East Siders, the idea of community policing takes new importance, as they brainstorm ways to lookout for each other, "quality of life safety concerns, there's a strong interest in supporting young people in the neighborhood, look at where there are gaps in services and policies," says McMurray.


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