ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As KMOX News reported last month, a couple was robbed at gunpoint early Christmas morning in the parking garage at Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels in downtown St. Louis. A friend of the female victim told KMOX, “The man pointed a gun at her head. It was very frightening.”
That was not the first armed robbery at Lumiere in 2011. KMOX News has now learned that the effort to improve security at Lumiere has been underway for months now.
“Who controls security at the state’s casinos?”
The Missouri Highway Patrol is in charge of security on the casino floor but not the parking garage or lots. Lee Ann McCarthy, spokeswoman for the Missouri Gaming Commission, says the Patrol maintains crime statistics on all casinos and those figures are released as part of the annual reporting by the commission. They are not, however, broken down by casino. McCarthy says arrest statistics are reported as part of the relicensing process and can be a factor. License reviews are completed once a year for new casinos but every other year after that. Lumiere’ license is up for renewal in October 2013.
“Efforts to reduce crime”
The St. Louis Police Department says that police got 155 calls for service to Lumiere last year. However, Police Captain Kenneth Kegel, the Commander of the 4th District which covers downtown St. Louis, says the number can be deceiving . He says, “If someone’s car is broken into blocks away, they may call police from 999 N. 2nd which is Lumiere Casino’s address. That call will then be logged as part of the calls for service.” Captain Kegel says there were enough more serious alleged crimes including car break ins and strong armed robbery, that Kegel and representatives from Mayor Slay’s office began meeting with Lumiere’s security chief to suggest ways to reduce crime.
Capt. Kegel says one suggestion proved effective right away. Kegel says Lumiere had some security cameras in its parking garage but police suggested more in better locations. He says Lumiere agreed to install more surveillance cameras which were used to arrest two armed robbery suspects within 24 hours. He says a nearby street used by casino patrons was also identified as a hotbed of car break ins and robberies because it was really an alley. Lumiere installed gates to block it off from parking. Kegel says since that time, police have not had one report of a car break in or holdup.
Kegel says they will continue meeting with Lumiere security personnel. He says his department’s Crime Analysis Unit is giving the casino a weekly crime map of its property. “They’ll be able to look at that map and pinpoint areas of concern and respond accordingly.”
Lumiere officials are not commenting yet but Mayor Slay’s office says after meeting with the General Manager of the casino and hotel last fall about security, city hall is encouraged by the casinos positive response.
Kegel says they are reviewing surveillance video from the Christmas day robbery to see if the license plate of the suspects car can be seen.
But Kegel adds that all crime at Lumiere doesn’t originate there. “One robbery victim’s fate was sealed when he stopped at a liquor store in North St. Louis on his way to the casino. He flashed a big wad of cash and the suspects saw that money and followed his car for 15 minutes, all the way to Lumiere and robbed him near a garage elevator.” They were later arrested.
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