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Police Targeting Violent Crime Areas In East St. Louis

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL. (KTVI) - The St. Clair County State`s Attorney announced on Wednesday, that a special grand jury issued 25 indictments against 3 East St. Louis night clubs for liquor law violations.

Brendan Kelly says the charges are part of a bigger crime fighting strategy that includes going after derelict property owners.

He says the state could withhold profits from those property owners if they fail to comply.

'We`d rather not prosecute them frankly,' said Kelly.  'Our goal is to have them cleaned up.'

Kelly`s office also filed charges against three Crown Food Mart liquor stores in June. Accusations included that guns and drugs were sold from the stores.

'It`s all about establishing law and order in these areas and making sure that they`re not a safe haven for criminal activity,' explained Kelly.

His office partnered with federal, state and local crime fighters to target areas where violent crime has been a problem.

Kelly believes it`s a way to tackle crime in a community where some efforts have failed.

'The perception has been that it`s impossible to make a change there,' said Kelly.  'This shows the impossible is possible.'

He says the homicide rate has dropped by 30% percent compared to 2010 and that the summer homicide rate is 85% lower than it was in 2010.

He credits cooperation and praised the work for two programs.  One is known as WAVE, a multijurisdictional, state task force and the federal program, Save Our Streets.

He hopes funding continues for both programs so that progress can continue to be made.