Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police-Security Office in the Works Eight-Mile Bike Trail Also Planned

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police-Security Office in the Works Eight-Mile Bike Trail Also Planned

Article excerpt

A police-security office in St. Clair Square and a bicycle trail are on the drawing board in Fairview Heights.

The city's police and the St. Clair Square security department plan to open the office at the shopping center this year. The office would add space for mall security personnel, establish a higher profile for the police department and provide a community room for meetings and seminars on public safety and crime prevention.

The trail, nearly eight miles long, would tie together three parks, four schools and the city hall and library. Riders could enter it from any point, said parks director Terry Wilson. The proposed trail is not a loop. Kelly Keahey, general manager of St. Clair Square, said the police-security office was "a positive move for the shopping center and the business district. It's our way of giving something to the community by making space available." Keahey said he hoped the office could be ready for the holiday shopping season. "One thing we're looking for is visibility," said Police Chief Roger Richards. "This location would be readily recognized. We see it as a good opportunity to serve that segment of our population." Police and shopping mall officials have earmarked a 2,000 square-foot space at the front of St. Clair Square, between the main entrance and Famous-Barr. The office would have an entrance from the sidewalk. The mall security department is currently located in part of the area. Richards stressed that plans for the office were not a reaction to crime at the shopping mall. "We don't want people to fear coming to the mall because of a crime problem, because there isn't," he said. "This is a preventive measure." The high concentration of people in the shopping district results in a large percentage of the police department's calls, Richards said. Most of the incidents are property crimes, including fraud, shoplifting and burglary, rather than violent crimes against persons. And 60 to 70 percent of the calls are for shoplifting. Richards said the office would provide a base for police work in the mall and the commercial district and help officers streamline their efforts by eliminating the need to transport some offenders, especially first-time shoplifters, to the police station for processing. …

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