Police cracking down on loitering in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Crackdown on loitering in Poplar Bluff.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 7:19 PM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Hanging out in parking lots can be a pretty popular activity for teens in a small town, but in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, police are calling some of these gatherings a threat to the community.

The situation has gotten so bad, the Poplar Bluff Police Department posted a lengthy warning about it on Facebook.

Lieutenant Josh Stewart with the police dept. says a surge in crimes related to these gatherings is forcing them to take action.

”For years we’ve always had gatherings--we’ve had teenagers get together in parking lots,” Stewart said.

But, according to Poplar Bluff police--young people are not just hanging out.

“We are seeing instances of felony theft--we are seeing firearms, robberies--we’ve run into shootings,” Stewart said.

That’s why they’re taking action to break up the crowds and warn residents.

“Hoping that we can get some help from patrons of businesses and parents, that kind of thing, to help deter that before we have to take action,” Stewart said.

Michael Wilkes is a Poplar Bluff resident. He agrees with police, but also hopes the city can help.

“There needs to be some things developed for the kids to keep them from being out in the parking lots and on the streets, because they are only gonna be up to no good, if not now, then eventually that’s what will happen,” Wilkes said. “There’s got to be some good clean fun out there.”

Until that happens, Stewart says they will put an end to any gatherings they see, before the situation gets worse.