St. Louis joins Biden’s new collaborative to combat violent crime


WASHINGTON, D.C. – St. Louis is part of President Joe Biden’s new Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, a plan aimed at curtailing gun violence across the country.

The plan focuses on addressing gun violence, providing money to cities that need more police, and offering community support. More information will be released during a 2:30 P.M. press conference.

St. Louis is one of 15 jurisdictions across the country that will be part of the Community Violence Intervention Collaborative.

St. Louis has allocated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to help fight crime. President Biden is calling on other jurisdictions to do the same.

Mayor Tishaura Jones’ is proposing $11.5 million of the $80 million direct relief funding goes to addressing the root causes of crime and improve public safety.

The White House is using research down by criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Biden administration is pointing to their research, “Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities 2020 Year-End Update.”

Ernesto Lopez is a doctoral student at UMSL in the department of criminology and criminal justice. He is also a research specialist for the council on criminal justice. 

He didn’t know the Biden Administration would be using his research in Wednesday’s announcement until it was released and he received an email from his boss. 

His research looked at crime through the year of 2020 and again at the end of the first quarter in 2021. 

“It’s really looking at crime throughout the United States at a very small level, locally and in a week interval, so looking at crime at how it sort of changes weekly, which is something that’s not really done in the united states, and I think that’s one reason why our report was really leveraged,” Lopez said. 

In Biden’s plan, he said “we have seen increased violence over the past year and a half,” then begins to reference research that he was part of at UMSL. “Homicides rose 30%, and gun assaults rose 8% in large cities in 2020,” the fact sheet from Biden’s plan said. 

“Looking at what was recommended, I think there’s a lot of evidence based policy in there,” Lopez said. “One of the things that I was really excited to see was the focus on youth, given the distance learning and the pandemic, we don’t really know how that’s going to affect the youth going forward.” 

He said he would like to see the Biden administration plan to evaluate the plan. 

“Sometimes governments not unique to the Biden administration or the federal government, is they implement policy but they don’t attempt to measure it, evaluate how effective that policy is.” Lopez said. “With these policy proposals and policy implementation, I think there should also be structures in place to evaluate the effectiveness of their policies.” 

Mayor Jones has tapped Public Safety Director Dan Isom to represent St. Louis.

Other jurisdictions joining the collaborative include: Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; King County, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN; Newark, NJ; Rapid City, SD; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington, DC

Associated Press contributed to this article.

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