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Sat Jun 29, 2019, 05:22 AM

After 18 Months Hayden's Rectangle Shows Promise In Reducing Violent Crime

It was the end of 2017, and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden was looking at some troubling numbers.

Violent crime in the city had jumped more than 7% from 2016. Homicides had hit a 20-year high — 205. There were more than 2,600 shootings, and nearly 2,000 robberies.

Hayden had been the commander of North Patrol before taking the department’s top job, so he had an idea where to begin. Starting in January 2018, he flooded a seven-square-mile area bordered by Goodfellow, West Florissant, Martin Luther King and Vandeventer with as many as 50 additional officers from special units like Mobile Reserve, SWAT and Traffic Safety.

“At the time, 64% of the violent crime citywide came from that area, and so I knew that it was safe to focus there because I knew that there was a lot of low-hanging fruit with respect to violent crime in that region,” Hayden said. “It was basically a lot more visibility, and a lot more enforcement.”


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