‘They’re all smashed’: After more Central West End car break-ins, residents hope city finds a way to compensate victims

Residents in the Central West End said they’re frustrated as car break-ins continue to occur in their neighborhood.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:21 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Residents in the Central West End said they’re frustrated as car break-ins continue to occur in their neighborhood.

Sometime in the late-night Sunday or early morning hours Monday, St. Louis Metropolitan Police said they got reports of five break-ins, and residents said more than a dozen were hit in the 4300 block of Maryland.

“I never had this frustration until I moved to the city,” said Nick Stratmann.

Stratmann has lived in the Central West End neighborhood for around two years and said his car has been broken into twice. Previously, only a gift card was stolen.

And then he woke up Monday and looked outside, and he soon learned it was the second time his car was hit.

“They’re all smashed. Nothing was taken,” said Stratmann.

He said he saw 13 cars in his and his neighbors’ lots with broken windows Monday morning.

Drew Tucker’s car wasn’t broken into last night, but he said his car had been broken into twice for seemingly no reason.

“I never actually lost any items,” said Tucker.

St. Louis Police data shows there have been 343 thefts from motor vehicles reported in the Central West End through January-October 2023. It’s the highest of any city neighborhood.

“A few times in the morning, we’ve woken up to people being in that back area searching through all the cars,” said Tucker.

Stratmann wants change.

“I want something new created,” said Stratmann.

He said instead of seeking law enforcement solutions, he believes the city should find a way to compensate victims of car break-ins.

“We can’t do anything judicially about this. There’s no follow-up to it; it’s just something we’re going to have to pay out of pocket,” said Stratmann.

One thought from him is the city using some of its $250 million of Rams settlement money to give victims some relief.

And it does appear like the Board of Aldermen is open to using some of the Rams money for crime.

In a resolution outlining the city’s biggest challenges that they’re hoping to address with the Rams money, it states in part that 53% of residents “reported concerns with crime or public safety, describing experiences with car break-ins.”

They could vote on the resolution at the next meeting.

Stratmann said it doesn’t have to be Rams money, but the city should do something.

“I’m open to ideas, I’m just, I’m frustrated,” said Stratmann.