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ST. LOUIS – Is St. Louis getting its money’s worth for the $7 million Cure Violence anti-crime program? The city official overseeing the program says “yes.”

Dr. Fredrick Echols says crime stats from the neighborhoods where Cure Violence is in have shown a decrease in shootings and homicides.

The program is operating in the Wells-Goodfellow area of north St. Louis, as well as Hamilton Heights, Walnut Park, and parts of Dutchtown. Those are the areas where the city has had the most trouble. Echols says they’re seeing good results from the program so far.

Cure Violence hires people in the neighborhood and trains them to act as crime interrupters. Often these are felons, drug offenders, and ex-gang members. The theory is that they know who’s causing the trouble and have the best chance to reach out to them to head office retaliatory killings and shootings.

St. Louis Aldermanic President Lewis Reed pushed the program through despite cost concerns by former Mayor Lyda Krewson.

So far, 23 cities have adopted the Cure Violence program. Many of those cities have reported a decrease in shootings and killings in the neighborhoods where Cure Violence is used.

The $7 million is supposed to last for three years. St. Louis officials say they haven’t spent the $7 million and can pull the plug if they get to a point where they don’t think they’re getting your tax dollars’ worth.