ST. LOUIS – On the 6th annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day in the United States, the City of St. Louis Board of Alderman voted to pass a resolution renewing their commitment to reduce gun violence in the area, support local efforts to prevent gun violence, and honor the lives who have been impacted by gun violence.
Last year the murder rate in St. Louis was the highest it has been in over 50 years. Two hundred and sixty two people lost their lives – most of them to gun violence. In the City of St. Louis alone, nearly 70 percent of all murder cases go unsolved. These are two staggering statistics that have left the community disheartened.
“I think poverty and gun violence are directly tied together. I think as long as you have people who are underserved, underemployed, or under everything – you’re going to have gun violence,” said St. Louis local Bree Sabree. “I think when we improve the conditions of the communities, particularly the economic situations of the communities, you’re going to see way less gun violence.”
The economy is not the only factor the Board of Alderman addressed as a root cause of the extreme gun violence in St. Louis. Board of Alederman President Lewis Reed said gun education, mental health, gang violence, theft, and improper storage play a role as well.
Reed said, “We’re reaching out to people and organizations across the city just to help to raise awareness and spark conversations about the importance of gun violence awareness.”
One organization Reed particularly endorsed was Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Reed also stated Mayor Tishaura Jones and the Board of Alderman are working closely together on new gun legislation.
In recent years, the City has started gun safety programs to help combat the violence. Lock of Love is program that provides free gun locks, safety training, and education on proper security. Anyone is able to go to a Fire Department downtown and ask for a free gun lock, no questions asked. Core Violence is a more recent program that was added to the mix to go out into the community, especially neighborhoods in North and West St. Louis, about underlying issues regarding crime and gun violence.
Reed also discussed how the community can play a role. He said the best way authorities can start getting violent offenders off of the street and these open murder cases solved is through community partnership with police and detectives.
If you have any information regarding a murder case, you are encouraged to call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department or Crimestoppers to leave an anonymous tip.