St. Paul police plan to boost their presence in the city's West Side starting Monday because of a sharp increase in burglaries and other crimes.
The uptick, which also includes robberies, aggravated assaults and quality of life crimes have alarmed residents, Senior Cmdr. Steven Frazer said. Police will launch an "intensive effort" to curb those crimes by inundating the area with more cops on bikes, as well as the horse patrol gang investigators and other officers. The effort will start at noon Monday and continue for 30 days.
The West Side's crime numbers are growing while the city as a whole is experiencing low crime levels, Frazer said. Problems climaxed about six weeks ago when an 82-year-old woman, a "pillar of the community," was attacked, kicked and robbed by several young men as she walked to visit her husband in a nursing home.
Cesar Chavez Street and the corner of Stryker Avenue and E. George Street have been problem areas, Frazer said. Residents have reported that large groups of people in their late teens to early 20s loiter in the area, acting aggressively toward residents and apparently dealing drugs, he said.
"They've never had this kind of problem," Frazer said. "We're suspecting it's people moving into the neighborhood trying to establish gang roots or drug roots."
Police will meet with concerned residents Saturday at 8 a.m. at Neighborhood House.