Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative, Business and Community Leaders Outline Progress at Start of New Year
DEPSI hosted its weekly update recapping Downtown events and provided a progress report on the work of the initiative since its Sept 2021 inception
Today, the Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative (DEPSI) hosted its weekly update recapping the weekend events that occurred Downtown and provided a progress report on the work of the initiative since its inception in September 2021.
“Between 2020 and 2021, St. Louis saw a more than 25 percent decrease citywide in homicides, and we’re looking at our data for the Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative in an effort to further activate Downtown St. Louis,” said DEPSI Chair and Interim Public Safety Director Dr. Dan Isom. “Since our inception in mid-September, we have seen a downward trend in aggravated assaults and robberies in corresponding neighborhoods.”
Between January and August of 2021, before the Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative started, there was an average of 9.6 aggravated assaults with a firearm in the downtown area. Between July through December, the average dropped to 3.5 assaults. The average number of robberies between January and August of 2021 was 4.5, the average between September through December dropped to 3.7.
“I am happy to see a drastic and noticeable difference downtown and feel more comfortable with my employees being downtown after hours,” said Matt Ratz, owner of UKRAFT Cafe & Catering, which has a location in Peabody Plaza. “A thriving downtown St. Louis influences the whole region and it’s imperative that businesses stay committed to that vision and become part of the solution.”
Downtown also saw major successful events in the second half of the year, keeping the area active. The city held two youth pop-up events that helped engage our youth and gave them safe, fun things to do downtown. A number of major events - from the incredibly successful GEOINT Symposium, Lunchtime Live series, countless Blues and Cardinals games, and successful Winter Night Markets - activated our public spaces and helped keep Downtown busy. DEPSI also launched STL Downtown Events, a website just for events happening in the downtown area to keep the public informed about upcoming opportunities.
“Overall, I’ve also seen increased foot traffic, my neighbors are walking around more and I’ve even seen our pocket park more populated,” said LaShana Lewis, President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and DEPSI member. “You notice the little things, and it’s actually the little things that make you stop and say, this work is actually making a difference, I hope to see this progress continue.”