for a Safer St. Louis
The 2020 homicide rate in the City of St. Louis is the highest on record with 262 people killed. We have to take immediate and decisive action to bring down violence in our communities. We will never be able to grow, attract businesses or improve the quality of life of St. Louisans without addressing this issue. That is why, as mayor, I will implement a comprehensive data-driven strategy.
With the 10 steps I am putting forward, during the first year I’m in office we will improve trust between communities and our police department, implement proven strategies to reduce violent crime and ensure our emergency services are responsive when they are needed the most.
Reducing Violent Crime and Homicides
- Focused Deterrence. This is the strategy of a data-driven program that has worked in cities across the nation. It helped Oakland, California, drop its homicide rate by 50% in just 6 years by targeting the small number of individuals at high risk for being involved in violent crime. When we bring it to our city, I am confident we can drop our homicide rate by 30% in my first term.
- More Effective Policing. We will re-organize our current police department staff by merging and/or eliminating redundant entities. That will free up more officers to investigate violent crime, patrol neighborhoods and engage in proactive community policing.
- Maximize Intelligence. We cannot effectively solve crimes without a formal process for exchanging intelligence. The lack of a formal process to do so is frustrating to officers and the regional partners with whom our police department must collaborate. As mayor, I will insist on the adoption of a formal process for exchanging intelligence within our department, with other regional departments and with the general public. This will include feedback and accountability measures that will be tracked and published.
Public Safety Beyond Traditional Policing
- Answer ALL 911 calls. Currently more than 25% of 911 calls are first answered by a recording. This is unacceptable. As mayor, I will build a comprehensive 911 operating system to ensure that a person answers all emergency calls.
- Implement 311. This service will divert routine inquiries and non-urgent concerns from 911 and transform citizen interaction with the Citizen Service Bureau. As mayor, I will make sure St. Louis joins most major cities in offering a 311 service.
- Invest in a Problem Landlord Unit. We will focus building inspections on bad actors and hold absentee property owners accountable by doubling the number of violations issued on non-owner-occupied units.
- Address Root Causes. As a city, we must invest in programs and strategies that will reduce crime long term. As mayor, I am committed to breaking down racial disparities outlined in the Racial Equity Indicators Report. We will improve access to addiction and mental health services and develop a partnership with the providers who serve our unhoused population.
Building Trust Within Our Communities
- Hire Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Social workers build trust and are effective in communities where victims and witnesses don’t trust the police enough to come forward with vital information to solve crimes. We will expand on both the Behavioral Health and Cops and Clinicians programs to empower social workers to respond to problems of the homeless and other troubled populations. This will free up the police to address serious crime.
- Update Use-of-Force Policies. We will clearly articulate in our policies our commitment to reverence for life. We will work to implement enhanced de-escalation techniques and mandate transparency in use-of-force investigations.
- Create an Office of Equity and Inclusion. As mayor I will appoint a chief equity officer to oversee all department policies and processes around recruitment, hiring, promotions and discipline. The equity officer will also ensure that training and evaluation are carried out fairly, with equal opportunity for all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations.
St. Louis can join the many cities nationally that have effectively reduced violent crime. Change must be rooted in transparency, accountability and decisive leadership, and that’s exactly what I will provide as mayor.