City ups police presence on N. Main to curb violent crime, underage drinking


North Main Street has been the subject of controversial debates between the St. Charles City Council and bar owners. Photo by Madeline Raineri.


Controversial debates between the St. Charles City Council and North Main Street bar owners has spurred an initiative to crack down on underage drinking and violent crime in the area. 

After a wedding party brawl in September, a stabbing victim found behind Picasso’s Coffee House in December and other unrelated incidents of violent crime, the city council approved the routine presence of four police officers on Thursdays and Saturdays on North Main Street, which began in the first quarter of 2018. 

The initiative includes more police to walk though bars to look for overcrowding and underage drinkers. According to Lt. Tom Wilkison, St. Charles’ public information officer, the goal is to also limit the amount of over-intoxicated patrons, which often leads to assaults within and outside of bars.

The city of St. Charles is using the police presence as more of a preventive measure.

“St. Charles will not tolerate violent crime,” said Wilkison. “We want St. Charles as a destination, not like the Landing in St. Louis where people don’t go anymore because there’s too much violent crime.” 

Additionally, the court administrator periodically approves minors caught drinking on North Main Street with the opportunity to waive their ticket if they help assist police officers in checking to see if liquor distributors are complying with laws. 

These “stings” do not target only bars, said Wilkison, but also gas stations, restaurants and other places that allow the sale of alcohol.

Discussions on decreasing issues on North Main have also involved a proposed ban on alcohol sales after 11 p.m., a limit on amplified music and the newest proposal — which enacts a points system to hold bars accountable for serving minors and overcrowding.