ST. LOUIS – It’s already been a violent start to summer and city leaders are warning it could get worse if measures aren’t put in place.
So many times, people get so caught up in the number associated with homicides, it gets lost that those are real people with families that are left with grief.
That’s why the call now is to escalate the solutions and deescalate the problems in the way.
“We have a violence crisis because we’re not doing what’s necessary,” community leader James Clark said.
That strong dose of reality from Clark with the Urban League comes while St. Louis is in the midst of a violent kickoff to summer 2020.
“This is senseless violence, but now we’re looking at needless violence,” he said. “We need not continue at the rate that is happening in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.”
Currently, there’s 92 homicides in the city of St. Louis and 69 of those still have no arrest.
Clark attest the answer to the problem is a simple, yet concerted effort.
He believes de-escalation starts in the community, in peoples living rooms with a head-first, one-on-one approach.
“The problem is we don’t have the infrastructure in place to meet them where they are and go about the business of de-escalating conflicts,” Clark said.
That’s what Clark says he’s doing with the Urban League and if they can’t de-escalate the feud then a relocation is completed.
The community approach Clark emphasizes is what President of the Board of Alderman Lewis Reed is betting CureViolence would do.
He says the training of staff is just now wrapping up and it’ll take an additional two months to get the staff inundated into the community at the first office in north St. Louis.
“We’re essentially are going to go another summer with no additional support, still operating on the old system that’s brought murders, after murder, after murders,” Reed said.
While homicide rates climb, Census Data is showing St. Louis City has loss nearly 20,000 people within 10 years – many of them being the Black population.
Reed says there should be no reason to question why when there’s so many unsolved murders.
“You [Residents] don’t see them locked up and you see them walking the streets, how long you’re going to keep your family there,” he said. “The minute you have the resources, you’re going to get there.”
Still – Clark believes the crisis in St. Louis can be fixed, but it’s going to take more than a focused eye on just city limits.
“The conflicts just don’t stop at the river. The conflicts don’t stop at Jennings Stations Road. We have to have a broader base approach and we have to scale it up,” Clark said.
With so many unsolved murders, it’s crucial the public is aware they can leave anonymous tips to help. Call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.