Des Peres Police use K9, license plate readers to keep mall shoppers safe this holiday season

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and while it’s the season of festive cheer, there’s more than a few Grinches out there. Police in West County are working to ensure everyone stays safe this holiday season.

At West County Center, Des Peres Police have a detailed patrol for the mall with a minimum of two officers.

Chief Eric Hall calls it an important partnership and a priortity for the city as the mall brings in roughly 7 million visitors a year.

One of the tools is newly installed license plate readers. Located at the entrances, the readers scan the cars that enter and if a car is stolen or registered with a wanted individual, officers get an alert and can quickly track down the car and drive.

They also have a dedicated K9 officer for the mall. Obe is trained to detect firearms. It was a priority after two shootings happened at the mall in 2021.

At Mid Rivers Mall, St. Peters Police are also stepping up thier patrols this holiday season.

“Most of their assignment is parking lot patrols, foot patrols inside the mall and visual deterrence. Also, this provides an additional sense of security for our residents, business owners and visitors,” said Officer Melissa Doss.

No matter where you shop, Chief Hall says there are things to do to ensure your safety.

“Park in a well lit area if you’re concerned. Don’t carry large items with you. Don’t go shopping at 10 different stores and then walk out with all those items,” said Hall. “Don’t leave valuables and shopping bags in plan sight.”