In a yr when many U.S. cities noticed a considerable improve in killings, St. Louis bucked the development in 2021
In a yr when many U.S. cities noticed a considerable improve in killings, St. Louis bucked the development in 2021 — a dose of fine news for a metropolis that for many years has had among the many worst murder charges in the nation.
The variety of killings in St. Louis dropped 25% to 196 in 2021 in comparison with 263 in 2020. It marks a return to pre-COVID-19 ranges; St. Louis police recorded 194 killings in 2019 and 186 in 2018.
At a news convention Thursday, Mayor Tishaura Jones, Public Safety Director Dan Isom and others credited a deal with stopping violence earlier than it occurs. Among these efforts was a program known as “Cure Violence.” The metropolis used $5 million in stimulus money for the trouble that features hiring individuals who dwell in high-crime neighborhoods to work as “interrupters.”
One of the interrupters, Mujaa Williams, mentioned he and his colleagues have blunt messages once they meet with individuals prone to committing violence.
“We are just like the final line for these guys earlier than the police come in with their cavalry,” Williams mentioned. “So we inform them: ‘If you don’t hearken to us, they’ve some locations for you. They have federal penitentiaries for you, they’ve state penitentiaries for you.’”
The success in St. Louis got here in a yr when a number of cities hit all-time highs, a listing that features Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chicago had its worst yr since 1996, and Houston killings jumped 18%.
Even at 195 killings, the St. Louis homicide charge continues to be alarming and stays among the many worst per capita charges in the nation given the town’s inhabitants of round 300,000.
Mayor Tishaura Jones mentioned efforts to curb gun violence are hampered by state legislation that prohibits cities from instituting their very own gun legal guidelines. Another state legislation adopted final yr prohibits native legislation enforcement from imposing federal gun legal guidelines.
“The Missouri Legislature prevents our metropolis from making our personal common sense gun security legal guidelines, so we now have to take a look at different instruments at our disposal to forestall violent crime, particularly gun crimes,” Jones mentioned.
Beyond preventative measures, St. Louis in the previous yr centered police assets in areas with excessive charges of violence.
Jones and Isom mentioned they’re optimistic the downward development will proceed, although 2022 is off to a harmful begin — seven individuals had been killed in the primary 12 days, together with 4 deaths in lower than 24 hours earlier this week.
“There isn’t one technique that’s going to get us to the purpose the place we save extra lives,” Isom mentioned. “It’s going to be a number of methods working in live performance.”