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What Do The Streets, Building, Forestry And Health Departments Have To Do With College Hill's Crime?

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Quite a bit - city leaders say.

Crews from four St. Louis city departments are flooding a north city neighborhood this week in an ongoing effort to tackle its crime problem.

The influx of resources from the streets, building, forestry and health departments follows two weeks of stepped-up police presence known as “hot-spot policing."

"That's how we're going to do business going forward," said police chief Sam Dotson. "Policing and arresting is only a portion of the problem. We need to leave a neighborhood better than we found it."

Mayor Francis Slay says having those additional officers on the ground was crucial to the city knowing what resources to provide.

"We've got a chief that understands how city government works, and has had his men and women out there in the neighborhood," Slay said. (Dotson was his operations director before becoming chief). "He is partnering with us now to say, 'hey, look, this is how we can help, this is what we need,' and were putting all our resources in there that we can."

Slay says he expects such efforts will become more common after the city officially regains control of its police department later this year.

And he dismissed questions that the increased attention on College Hill is an effort to boost his re-election campaign.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.