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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Extra funding for police is paying off in East St. Louis, according to federal, state, and local authorities.

“While violent crime has spiked in some communities across the country, East St. Louis is seeing declines,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly.   

On Tuesday, Kelly came to City Hall with a one-year “report card” for the Public Safety Enforcement Group (PSEG), which is spearheaded by more than 20 state police officers working with local authorities on all of the city’s violent crime cases.     

The effort led to the arrests of two suspects after seven people were shot in September.  A 3-year old boy was among the victims.  All survived.   

In July, the arrest of 44-year-old Dwonique Seay’s suspected killer came within 24 hours.  Her mother hailed the work of the PSEG unit.    

“They’ve done an awesome job to get this person,” she said.  “(He) won’t be able to hurt no one else.  I don’t want them to go through what I went through.”   

Still unsolved is the death of Calyia Stringer, 3, who was hit by a stray bullet while lying in her grandmother’s bed in September.   

However, the intense investigations continue and are sending a message:  homicides down are 24%; the homicide clearance rate is up from 40% to 55%; domestic violence charges are up 100%.      

“None of us, not one of us, is ever going to retreat from that task.  We will never surrender,” said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Jim Gomric.   

Certainly, there is a deterrent effect from the word being out on the street that violent criminals are being arrested.  They are going to jail, but it’s about more than just arresting the bad guys, according to Kelly.   

“A young kid who has seen their father, their brother, their cousin, murdered in front of them, we know they are at greater risk to go out and commit and another crime later,” he said.  “By making sure law enforcement is connecting those victims to services that address the underlying trauma and wrap them around with those services that can help them heal and get past that trauma, we are reducing the chances, inch by inch, person by person, that that violence is going to be repeated.” 

The PSEG model incorporates services from The Community Life Line Family Resource Center and the Wraparound Wellness Center of East St. Louis School District 189, Kelly said.  

East St. Louis Mayor Bobby Eastern shared the haunting story of two men at a murder scene in 1991.   

“(The) murder was unsolved.  That murder devastated the family for some time, he said. “That man who was murdered was my grandfather. Those two people at the murder scene were my dad and my uncle.”

So, he jumped at the opportunity to bring more policing to East St. Louis through the PSEG program.  

“I didn’t want one family to ever go through what I went through and my dad went through ever again,” he said.   

Our goal this year is always to go harder and be better than the year before,” said East St. Louis Police Chief Kendall Petty.    

The state police budget contains a five-year commitment to PSEG funding, Kelly said.