Securing downtown

Some merchants in downtown Cape Girardeau are complaining about the petty vandalism that occurs as the nightclubs and pool halls are closing.

Surveillance cameras and foot patrols are two of the suggestions for improving security downtown. Sikeston has installed 32 cameras, and Mayor Mike Marshall credits them with solving and deterring crimes.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson says the city cannot afford to put extra police downtown late at night. But police cruisers are always in evidence downtown as the clubs are closing. Why couldn't that presence be on foot?

Knudtson says downtown merchants would have to bear some of the cost of any extra patrols. The merchants seem agreeable to finding out how much the cost might be.

Downtown is a neighborhood, not a private shopping area. Would the city charge any other neighborhood extra to stop crimes from occurring there?

Merchants and the city have begun a dialogue that we hope will lead to ridding the downtown of vandalism.