‘Safe Streets’ partnership aims to reduce violent crime in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced a partnership with the US Attorney’s office to tackle violent crime.

As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Schmitt said his number one priority is to keep people safe.

“In this unprecedented partnership, assistant attorneys general on my team will be specifically designated to ensure the US Attorney's general office will fully prosecute violent crime,” Schmitt said.

Up to as many as five assistant attorneys general will be assigned to the violent crime.

“In the City of St. Louis, there was over 180 homicides in 2018, with the (St. Louis) Metropolitan Police Department reporting 375 carjackings, more than one a day,” Schmitt said.

Prosecutors will start by attacking crimes in the most dangerous areas. Schmitt alluded to “Hayden’s Rectangle,” an area referred to by Chief John Hayden that encompasses some of the city’s highest-crime neighborhoods: Wells-Goodfellow, Walnut Park East and West, and Penrose.

“This rough rectangle bordered by Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Goodfellow, West Florissant, and Vandeventer is where much of the violent crime is occurring,” Schmitt said.

US Attorney Jeffrey Jensen said this partnership is unprecedented.

“This has never happened before that the attorney general's office has agreed to assign prosecutors to the US Attorney’s office to help us in the fight against violent crime,” Jensen said.

Missouri Attorney General Schmitt said he’s offered assistance the offices of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. Schmitt described them as “good meetings.”

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