Baseball Home Opener Is An Opportunity For Criminals

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The St. Louis Cardinals home opener is a holiday for Cardinals fans but it can also be an opportunity for criminals.

The below press release from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department highlights some changes around Busch Stadium that fans will want to know about and offers some advice for staying safe.

Chief Sam Dotson said, "St. Louis does baseball very well."  The one danger Dotson saw develop during games last year was fans with conceal carry permits leaving their guns in the car.  Guns are not allowed in Busch Stadium.

"What I don't want to happen is for that legal gun to become an illegal gun when it falls into the hands of a criminal," explained Dotson.

He encouraged fans to leave their guns at home or to place them in lock box out of plain view.

He also hopes fans will not leave other items in plain view of their vehicles.

"Don't leave laptops, don`t leave valuables, don`t leave your purse, change in the cup holder," said Dotson. "Don't leave that visible."

Here is the entire press release:

The Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis ('the department') along with the
St. Louis Cardinals would like to inform the citizens of St. Louis as well as visiting fans
of street closures and safety precautions. The St. Louis Cardinals` baseball season will
begin with a 3:15 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, April 8.
Due to the construction of Ballpark Village, there are road changes and closures that
motorists need to be aware of when traveling to and from Busch Stadium:
• 8th Street is now a two-way street between Clark and Market with two north and
southbound lanes.
• Temporary stop signs are currently in place at the intersections of 8th Street and
Clark, as well as 8th Street and Walnut.
• Walnut is now a two-way street between 8th Street and Broadway, with one
westbound lane and two eastbound lanes.
• 7th Street is no longer in existence.
Pedestrians walking to the stadium should note that the pedestrian bridge from Stadium
West Parking garage has been removed and the intersection of Clark and 8th Street has
been redesigned with a larger sidewalk. Clark Street will also be open to pedestrian
traffic on Opening Day. The Cardinals Opening Day Rally will be at the corner of 8th
and Clark.
The gates to the stadium open at 1:15. The department urges all fans to allow
themselves plenty of time to get to the Downtown area and plenty of time to get
inside the gates at Busch Stadium.
Fans are encouraged to take MetroLink. To avoid costs of parking and game day traffic,
fans can use one of 19 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to
Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark. Check the Metro website for schedules and the Park-Ride lot nearest you.

Those choosing to drive are urged to 'park smart'— park in well-lit, populated areas,
concealing valuables by placing them in compartments or in the vehicle`s trunk prior to
arrival. The department strongly encourages citizens to leave firearms at home. Events
such as baseball games are no place for firearms, as they are not allowed inside Busch
Stadium and leaving them in a vehicle creates opportunity for criminals. Don`t let your
legal firearm become an illegal firearm.
Event-goers are also advised to remain aware of their surroundings and if choosing to
consume alcohol, are urged to drink responsibly. Criminals often target those who appear
to be most vulnerable, including those who might be intoxicated.
There will be a significant law enforcement presence in all areas surrounding Downtown
and Busch Stadium. We strongly encourage anyone who sees criminal or suspicious
activity to alert a nearby officer or dial 9-1-1.
The department urges all those in attendance to have a safe and enjoyable event.