Break Ins

Posted by Eric Woods on December 23, 2008 | 16 Comments

We’ve had 3 cars broken into on Cherokee Street between Nebraska and Oregon in the last 2 weeks.
One of our customers had his car broken into at 9am. His wallet was stolen.
We had our truck broken into behind the shop. Nothing was taken but we have a busted window.
Diana, from Diana’s Bakery, just had her van broken into while she was delivering down the street. They watched her leave her store, drive down the street, walk into a shop for a delivery and they stole her purse with a large sum of money.

We’re not trying to spread bad news around during the Holiday season but please keep an eye on your neighbors.

  1. Amy on December 23, 2008 6:16 pm

    Dave’s truck was broken into Sunday night while parked on Oregon. Nothing much in it to take, but a broken window. Someone approached him about it yesterday though, trying to hustle him into paying to learn who had done it, and I believe the same person stood in front of your shop talking on the phone and watching me leave my car. My car wasn’t bothered though.

  2. will on December 24, 2008 10:38 am


    We have expressed our concerns regarding police presence or lack there of, to Officer Hickel. Since before and after our meeting where these concerns were brought to Officer Hickels attention, many people on the street have expressed concern that there is not adequate participation by our beat officer. The Captain needs to know that this is an important resource that we rely on. Out of fairness to Officer, Hickel there may be a logical explanation for his not being seen on the street.

    However, once again we are all under the impression that there is a beat cop m-f during regular business hours on Cherokee Street. Until we are given notice to the contrary, it is my expectation that there will be a substantial and noticeable presence. We need to all work together to make the street safer in both perception and reality. I can attest that neither have been the case over the past several months. I have cc officer Hickel and look forward to his and Captain Hobbs thoughts on how we should proceed.

    Captain Hobbs is out of town until Monday December 29. Anyone who has concerns can call Captain Hobbs at 444-0125.

    I want to clarify that I am not blaming the crime on the police. I just think we need to enhance our resources for fighting this crime.

    Best regards,


  3. Angelo on December 24, 2008 2:31 pm

    Perhaps we need to start arranging our own community policing initiatives? If we band together, divide up responsibilities, and make sure there are vigilant residents prominently placed to discourage unlawful activity; I am sure we’d make an impact.

    I have a few ideas if anyone is interested in trying them out.

  4. Alissa on December 28, 2008 6:27 pm

    There was also a break in this past week on the 3300 block of Cherokee. A laptop was stolen from a house.

    I do think community vigilance is always a good idea, and engaging with the people who you may perceive as a problem at first is a huge first step to reducing crime. However, when this is generally happening while most folks are at work, I imagine that there might be a breakdown in the system. But hey, I’m willing to listen to any ideas you have, Angelo!

  5. Angelo on December 28, 2008 10:31 pm

    The at work issue isn’t a big problem when there are store-front owners, web-designers, and other work-at-homers in the area. There are bound to be people at home/in-shop and available to work a 1-hour vigilance shift.

    If they’re (along with a partner) equipped with a whistle or a walkie-talkie they can alert others in the area. Drawing attention and putting people on notice to contact the police if a crime’s about to be committed (or in the act of being committed).

    Not a big thing, really. Just takes some cooperation and a little bit of everyone’s time.

    I also agree that communication between everyone on this street is extremely important. Making sure a dialogue, and especially a friendship, is established with all the groups and individuals in the neighborhood will certainly help in combating this problem. There would be additional benefits to this sort of policy as well.

  6. a resident on December 29, 2008 10:58 am

    I agree that drawing attention would seem to be a good start, though I’m a little cynical in regards to it making much differance. Last year I watched 4 teenage boys break the salvation army’s glass door windows and then enter the store trying to steal the register and breaking things. I turned my car to face the salvation army turned my lights on them, and made it very obvious that they were being watched. Didn’t phase them. I then noticed a cop parked up the block drove to him told him what was going on. About 5-10 minutes later he traversed the 1 block distance. At this point the “kids” had just crawled out the broken door and calmly starting walking down cherokee. I pointed out to the cop that these where the people that did the break in, the cop asked them they said no, and he let them walk off. Said it wasn’t worth pursuing as they are juveniles, and he didn’t catch them in the act so he didn’t have “proof”. I realize the stlpd is understaffed and have more important issues to deal with, but until they start following up on smaller break ins, and related crime I doubt that we will get very far in making outsiders feel comfortable coming to our street.

  7. Angelo on December 30, 2008 7:25 pm

    Solving this problem isn’t going to be easy. But I think an obvious, coherent, and consistent projection of community power onto the streets is a very important start.

    All of these eyes and ears will be focused on identifying crime and criminals and bring their deeds to the attention of everyone. With the information we gather we can identify other methods at discouraging crime and making these streets safe.

    If we can get a citizen’s group together we could more effectively lobby and work with the police department. Together we can come up with solutions with regards to youth and adult crime.

    Remember, witnesses are evidence. If two or more citizens with a good reputation and rapport with the StLPD report on local criminals I am sure more will be done.

  8. Alissa on January 2, 2009 9:38 am

    Just an FYI, someone broke out the rear windshield of our car last night. It was parked behind our house on the 3200 block of Cherokee. Nothing taken, but we don’t leave anything in the car. Totally senseless and stupid.

  9. Sheri on January 7, 2009 2:54 pm

    Angelo is right. I lived in Florida and saw community groups work. There were a large number of drug dealers in the neighborhood. A church group worked with the police to do neighborhood walks. They carried flashlights, stopped in front of known problem houses(the police gave them a list) and had bicycle police ride with them. They would walk at night and we appreciated it because they closed the crackhouse next door to us.

  10. Amber on January 8, 2009 11:20 am

    Sheri, what would they do once they stopped in front of problem houses? I can only imagine how that would go down with my problem houses on my block.

  11. Sheri on January 9, 2009 2:07 pm

    Sometimes they would just hang out. People causing trouble don’t like to be seen.
    When they stopped in front of really bad places, they would chant things like “keep selling crack, we’ll be back.” I know it sounds cheesy but it worked.
    If there are people and a police officer there, what can they do? It at least stops their business for awhile. Houses that are not causing trouble will appreciate the effort.

  12. Eric @ CAMP on January 12, 2009 10:16 pm

    Officer Hinkel seems to have enough time to have written me one to four tickets /per day/ over the past 3-4 months for expired license plates ever since we put “Know Your Rights” flyers and made ACLU police complaint forms available at CAMP.

    Perhaps his priorities are a little screwed up?

    Other than that, more cops are never the answer. Incarceration certainly doesn’t reduce crime in the long term, in fact it might even increase it. More visible and strict policing also has been shown to have questionable results wr/t violent crimes:


    If people want to have a broad neighborhood discussion on neighborhood safety, we’d be happy to host one at CAMP, however many of us feel strongly about wanting LESS of a police presence in our neighborhood, rather than MORE.

    Do people want to think broadly about what a safe, vibrant and healthy St Louis would look like, or do they just want to move anti-social behaviors to someone else’s neighborhood?

  13. Angelo on January 12, 2009 10:49 pm

    Thanks for the support Sheri! I’m glad you’ve had good experiences with community policing. Such first-hand knowledge is extremely important to solving problems. I, myself, have only seen the research and studied it in college.

    As for what Eric is talking about, the community policing approach is the complete opposite of what was detailed in the ACLU report. It is generally the community coming together, under the protection of the police, to pressure criminals to reduce or stop their behavior or leave the area.

    In fact, it hopes to reduce the need for strict police controls and harsher measures through simple peer pressure and community solidarity.

    The most important aspect of such a program is its effect on fear. Way too many people in this area feel afraid, isolated, alone, and in danger. If we want to build better and stronger community organizations we’re going to have to start by showing people there is nothing to be afraid of. We need to give people hope.

    Knowing that there are lots of people like them, who want to see this neighborhood thrive, who don’t want to harm them, who share their values….that will bring people a certain amount of optimism. And optimism is a precious resource when it comes to social activism.

  14. Sheri on January 13, 2009 12:17 pm

    It was cool to see the community in Florida come together to change the atmosphere of the community.
    The place next door to us in Florida was worse then anything I’ve seen here. It was an old small hotel building turned into apartments. Then it turned into a crack hotel. It was kinda scary to live next to. The community walks worked.
    And Angelo makes an awesome point. It wasn’t all negative and pointing fingers, it was about bringing people together. It was a small group at first and then people would come out of their houses to check out what was going on and start talking and sometimes join. I think that was how we started hanging out with our other neighbors.

  15. dominguez on February 10, 2009 5:48 pm

    on sunday, dic 21 2008 10:am me and my wife arrive to work at work on our location on
    2817 cherokee we foud firefigter police it was my building on fire we don’t know wat to do no insurance no evidence nothing there are to much violence and bed people
    they stole every thing they could and fire the place damages about $7000-10000.00 ignoring total

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