ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Some community leaders have a strong prediction on what St. Louis could see this spring and summer when it comes to violence, and they’re offering a dire warning to police.
Better Family Life vice president James Clark said that with the recent string of robberies and shootings in the area, the city should brace itself for more violence unless community outreach is conducted in the most challenged neighborhoods .
“Better Family Life is doing all it can to try and shift the culture of St. Louis’ most dangerous neighborhoods away from violence,” Clark said.
Clark held a meeting Thursday with community leaders, local organizations and pastors to formulate a plan for what could be ahead in the spring and summer.
“Begin to prepare for a very, very trying summer,” Clark said. “All of the indicators say that we are going to be tested this summer, quite possible like never before.”
Clark encouraged the Rev. Earl Nance to join in the fight against crime and help target neighborhoods in need.
“Resources to the people desperate need it, whatever their resource may be, we can put the foot soldiers on the ground and get them that information,” Nance said. “If we are not involved in our more challenged neighborhood we can expect a very, very turbulent summer.”
Better Family Life puts outreach specialists and case managers in neighborhoods to connect families to resources and teach conflict resolution. The organization teaches individuals how to respond to disputes in a more peaceful way to reduce tragedies.
"We are now mobilizing to do more outreach in our more challenged neighborhoods and we are bringing the resources and providers together to meet the needs of families in our more challenged neighborhoods," said Clark.
Clark said Better Family Life will continue to do what is necessary to stay ahead of the tidal wave of crime and violence.
St. Louis police said gun violence and the murder rate did go down in the parts of the city where Better Family Life has implemented programs. Organizers said they will continue going door-to-door in various neighborhoods, asking residents how they can help and let people know where help is available.