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Legislature considers pilot program to address roots of violent crime in St. Louis

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Missouri Senate Committee is considering legislation (SB 1036) that sets up a pilot program to reduce and prevent violent crime in St. Louis. Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, says the city needs a comprehensive approach.

“We have a problem in St. Louis,” said Keaveny. “At the end of last year we had 188 murders, and most of them are unresolved. And you know, we need to get everybody in the room and figure out how to address this.”

The program’s implementation team would include local politicians, educators, lawyers, police officers and social workers. It would be overseen by the Department of Public Safety and subject to state appropriation. 

The program would analyze crime data as well as develop social services and mental health programs. It would be set to operate for six years. 

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, anticipates a wider need across the state for programs like the one Keaveny is proposing.

“It’s a problem we’re seeing all over the state, as well,” said Schatz. “These situations where we have drugs and crime are going to continue to rise, and we’re going to have to figure out something to address the societal issues that are driving us down this path.”  

The bill received no opposition in its public hearing, and will be voted on in committee at a later date. 

Mallory Daily is an intern at the State Capitol Bureau for St. Louis Public Radio. Follow on Twitter: @malreports