We have a crisis in St. Louis. Gun violence and homicide are at levels we haven’t seen in almost 10 years. And just recently, St. Louis had 6 homicides in a just half a day. The tragedy occurring in our streets is heart wrenching and frustrating to anyone who cares for this city. Right now there are many opinions on what to do. Citizens are frustrated, baffled on how to address this and our leaders only offer excuses.
However, This is a problem we CAN solve.
Cities across America have implemented policing policies that target and reduce gun violence and homicide. We can do the same in St. Louis. It just takes leadership with the vision and passion to make it happen.
The City of St. Louis has an unacceptable level of crime, while some neighborhoods are safer than others, every homicide, no matter where it occurs, affects all of us.
However, Cities across America when confronted with an unacceptable level of homicide and gun violence, have taken steps to focus efforts and reduce these crimes. We can implement these policies here.
These Community Policing policies have drastically reduced gun crime and homicide in Kansas City, Minneapolis and Cincinnati among many others.
These policies are designed to engage the community and rebuild trust with residents, specifically in the African-American community.
We can heal the divide in our community and reduce crime and violence. It just takes the right leadership to make it happen.
The specific policy I am advocating for was invented in 1995. In the early 1990s, the City of Boston, when confronted with an unacceptable level of homicide, decided to confront gun violence among youths directly. The policing strategy they utilized produced “a 63 percent reduction in youth homicide and a 30 percent reduction in homicide citywide, what has been called the “Boston Miracle.“ For the sake of comparison, a 30% decrease in homicide in STL would mean 48 less people killed next year and hundreds more uninjured.
Since that time, cities across America participating with this group have seen drastic results. The people who invented this policing strategy have started a non-profit group, The National Network for Safe Communities, whose sole purpose is to assist cities implement this policy correctly. This strategy doesn’t require military vehicles, cameras, drones, gun courts, changes in state law or even more police officers. Just leadership.
Recently, news from our cross state neighbors, Kansas City, is that homicide has dropped to the lowest rate it has been in 40 years. Kansas City works with this group to utilize this policing strategy. We can too. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has discovered this policy and discussed it in a recent editorial.
The only change we need to make this happen is a change in attitude from our elected leadership. As Alderman, I won’t rest until we use a policing strategy that makes sense and our streets are safe.