St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced on Tuesday that the County has been awarded a $1 million grant for the Castle Point neighborhood that will be used to focus on cooperation between police and the community.
The Castle Point neighborhood which is located in St. Louis County has been awarded the grant by the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.
The three-year grant will focus on innovative strategies promoting partnerships between the area’s police and its community.
According to a County statement, the initiatives include new street lights and crosswalks, renovations of abandoned properties and Community Pride Park, along with monthly events hosted by the St. Louis County Police Department in conjunction with the Castle Point Neighborhood Association.
Stenger said the new initiative will build trust and everlasting relationships between Castle Point and police officers.
“Through this grant our officers will build strong relationships in Castle Point while using innovative strategies to reduce crime,” Stenger said in a written statement. “Residents in Castle Point will know these officers on a first name basis. Their interaction will go beyond traditional law enforcement and will include recreational activities and other efforts aimed at building relationships and improving the quality of life for everyone.”
The Byrne Grant is based on a mixture of crime prevention strategies being implemented in an innovative way. One of those strategies is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which is a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing crime by combining environmental design and community participation.
According to the County, the environmental design of the neighborhood will include physical improvements for the purpose of increased public safety. Castle Point will have new crosswalks and improved lighting strategically placed to reduce criminal activity.
“We are really taking an innovative approach to our policing with this grant,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said in a written statement. “First and foremost we’ll have an increased presence in the community and I’m not just talking about patrols. We will be at neighborhood cleanups, basketball games, and the movie nights. We aim to build relationships through positive interaction. And the investment we are making in street lights, crosswalks, and the neighborhood park will improve the quality of life while promoting safety in Castle Point.”
Experiments in CPTED– based policing has greatly reduced crime in several cities including Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Sarasota, Florida.