ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation at the West Side Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis on Tuesday. Her office was hosting a roundtable addressing crime.

“I want to invest in people and to address the root causes of the problem,” Gardner said.

She said poverty is the number one factor driving crime and called on St. Louis to do more to address inequities within the community.

Gardner also responded to a lawsuit filed by the Missouri Attorney General attempting to remove her from office, calling the effort “foolish”.

The roundtable discussion focused on finding ways to support underserved communities to prevent crime.

“The way to resolve crime and to keep the community safe is not necessarily prosecuting, and convicting and sending people to prison,” said Christi Griffin, president and founder of The Ethics Project. “Which is what we have done far too much in this country.”

Several speakers shared their support for Gardner. Some said the prosecutor’s office needed to be reformed, and they believe Gardner is the one who can deliver the criminal justice reforms they support.