ST. LOUIS – Is St. Louis missing out on the benefits of a crimefighting program that’s been used nationwide to cut down homicides?
The program is called Boston Ceasefire. Launched in Boston in the mid-1990s, the program uses incentives to get the most violent gang leaders to agree to a ceasefire.
Under the plan, troublemakers are channeled to programs to try and turn their lives around through jobs and education even helping them get off drugs. But if they don’t take the carrot, they face stiff action by police.
St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has been pushing to get the City of St Louis to try the program, which has cut crime has much as 35, 40, and even 50 percent in some places.
Reed, who lost a nephew to city gun violence, said it’s time to try something new and that this is a program proven to work.
Fox 2’s Elliott Davis talked to the Cincinnati Police Department. That’s one of the cities to have used the program. City authorities said it was instrumental in cutting violence by at least 25 percent.
Cincinnati, about the same size as St. Louis, had 59 homicides last year compared to 187 for St. Louis.
But St. Louis took a pass on the program.
“If it meant cutting crime at that rate, every city in the world would be doing it,” said St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.
Edwards stressed that Boston Ceasefire was intended to cut homicides by juveniles.
Cincinnati said it may have been that way in the beginning but they’ve modified their ceasefire program to make it more effective. They said their program is primarily geared to violent crimes committed by adults.
In fact, even Boston no longer uses its original version of Boston Ceasefire. It, too, has modified the program to make it more effective.