ST. LOUIS – Dozens of residents turned out Monday night for an ‘Evening with Kim Gardner’ at the Tower Grove Baptist Church in south St. Louis City hosted by the Shaw Neighborhood Ownership Model-St. Louis (STL NOM) along with Benton Park West, Tower Grove East, Princeton Heights and Tower Grove Heights Safety Committee.
Many people wanted to know what is being done to reduce crime in their neighborhoods and bridge their communities together.
Some people asked what Gardner is doing about getting a handle on the crime, including carjackings which residents say continue to be on the rise.
Gardner answered by saying that many of those carjacking cases are being committed by juveniles but added that her office has also collaborated with the organization, SANKOFA Unity Center, which through its diversion program works with at-risk youth and juveniles who are involved with committing these types of crimes or offenses.
Gardner while speaking to the crowd acknowledged that crime is a public health crisis but to change that, it will require working with police to be strategic and encouraging residents to have conversations with police chief, John Hayden.
“The people elected me and the people have to hold me accountable”, Gardner said, “and I’m gonna do my job and I’m gonna hold accountable the criminal justice reforms that we’re pushing for that makes us safe.”
“One thing we have noticed is that there is a lot of speculation in the neighborhood about crime like when something happens. Where did it come from? Where did it end up? And what happened,” said David Aubrey who lives in the Shaw Neighborhood. “So our goal with meeting with Kim is to help with getting more factual information for our neighbors.”
“There is always a discussion about the exclusion list with the police,” said Dan Powell with STL NOM, “and I want to know, what would happen if one of those officers arrested someone for a serious crime in our neighborhood? Would that criminal or suspect get away with it?”