St. Paul police called to downtown apartment building nearly 300 times in 2023
Residents and police shed some light on Sunday on a pattern of 911 calls from an apartment complex in downtown St. Paul.
The latest call brought emergency crews to the Press House apartments on Cedar Street near Kellogg Boulevard on Friday morning, where they found a woman dead. The “signs of trauma on her body” led police to open a homicide investigation, said Sgt. Mike Ernster in a press conference later that evening where he also revealed police had been called to that building “292 times since the first of the year.”
“I can tell you that many apartment buildings do have more calls than your average address,” Sgt. Ernster continued, adding, “But also, 292 is a lot.”
It’s nearly a call per day, and it’s not gone unnoticed by the people who live there.
“We’ve had a lot of crime happening on this block…outside of the building, as well as inside of the building,” shared Davonne Cottrell on Saturday afternoon, adding she sees a handful of squad cars nightly.
“So it’s kind of been sad, and I’m actually looking for another place to live now because of that,” Cottrell continued.
“It’s not a safe area, honestly,” added another resident who wished to remain anonymous.
The Press House building was formerly the home of the Pioneer Press before it was converted into affordable housing a few years back.
Ernster on Saturday said the number of calls for service has been particularly high, but he said the types of calls are largely typical of apartment buildings, including disturbances, harassment, assaults and domestic incidents.
He also said that the building’s connection to the skyway is unique and that police “cannot separate any calls from the skyway that might be causing these numbers to be higher than they should be.”
Efforts are recently underway to turn the statistics around, including the addition of a Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office training annex to the building.
St. Paul Police have also added patrol officers to the skyway, Ernster said, adding that officers and command staff are working closely with the Press House to improve the situation.
“We do have late-night security now, and that’s been helping,” Cottrell volunteered.
Press House did not respond to calls for comment on Saturday.
St. Paul Police did not have any new details to release on the homicide investigation.
“Our investigators still have many questions about this case,” Ernster said during the press conference on Friday, asking anyone with information to call investigators at 651-266-5650.