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Gardner: St. Louis cannot arrest its way out of crime problem

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Circuit Attorney said the city can’t arrest its way out of the crime problem, so she’s trying to reduce crime by changing policy.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said her new approach focuses on the causes of crime.

She said the city’s high arrest rates, conviction rates, and lengthy prison sentences have not made the city any safer.

Gardner said the heavy-handed criminal justice response in the past has played a significant role in destabilizing families and neighborhoods out of access to job opportunities and housing.

“This is why we are taking a new approach. One where we work with service providers to help address the underlying drivers of crime, including substance abuse, disorders, mental illnesses, joblessness, and hopelessness while reserving our harshest response incarceration for those who truly are a danger to our community," she said.

The circuit attorney said she’ll begin discussions on changing her office policy, as well as plans for alternatives to incarceration, and bail and bond practices.

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