ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Jennifer Joyce only has a month left as St. Louis Circuit Attorney, but on Monday she held a 'gun stat' get together to shine some light on successes being made to combat gun violence in the city. However, it also showed the complex issues that need to be fixed to save our city from gun crimes.
The circuit attorney’s office was able to issue warrants on 81% of reported homicides in 2016. That was up from just 50% the year before. Circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce credits programs her office implemented two years ago for the positive change. One of those programs is her crime strategies unit. Joyce says, “we actually gather our own intelligence. We have our own lawyers and detectives working on cases now. Her office doesn’t have to solely rely on police all the time. The idea is working. They took the idea from the Manhattan, New York attorney’s office which has unlimited resources.
“What I’m proud of is that we took the core of what they do and put it in effect here in our office without adding money or additional people and it’s working.”
They are also sending all senior prosecutors and managers out on all homicide calls no matter the time or place to have a presence on scene. “What we found is that by doing that our ability to hold people accountable for homicide skyrocketed by building relationships with police and the community, because we are working closely with detectives we are able to issue warrants on more cases, says Joyce.”
But it’s not all good news, robberies are on the rise and only 175 warrants were issued on non-fatal shootings in 821 reported cases. Those are shootings that would-be homicides if not for tremendous medical care.
Joyce also says St. Louis is far too violent for a city size of 320,000 and that it got that way over a number of years and it will take a number of years with initiatives like these to get out of it.