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Reed proposes nationally known program to reduce violent crime in St. Louis

Aldermen President Lewis Reed
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Lewis Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, says he is working to bring a nationally recognized anti-violence program to St. Louis.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with Reed saying the governor is receptive to the idea.

The president of the St. Louis Board of Alderman says he is working to bring a widely effective anti-violence program to St. Louis.

Lewis Reed announced Tuesday that he had the backing of the NAACP, the business executive group Civic Progress and local clergy for the program previously known as Operation Ceasefire.

“It has the effect of breaking down these silos that exist between departments, and these silos that exist between entities that are preventing communication and hampering our progress forward,” Reed said.

His announcement came after a weekend in St. Louis in which six people were killed. Police believe four of those deaths were drug-related.

The initiative, now known as Group Violence Intervention, started in Boston in 1996 and has since spread to dozens of other cities, including Nashville, Tennessee and Chicago. It targets those most likely to commit crimes with both social services and additional enforcement.

Mayor Lyda Krewson’s current strategy has had some positive effects on the city, Reed said, “but what we’re saying is that we can do better. And we need to implement a model that will truly work in our city.”

A spokesman for Krewson said Reed and the mayor have yet to discuss the program, but planned to talk. Reed met with Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday and said Parson was receptive to the idea.

Reed said Parson told him he would have his public safety director look into the program.

Reed said he didn’t yet have a specific cost for the program, other than the need to hire someone to coordinate the various parties and to train groups on implementation. He said he has talked to Civic Progress about providing some of the needed financial support.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.