St. Louis Public Radio News
4:46 pm
Thu May 7, 2009

CIty looks to reform anti-crime grants

St. Louis, MO – City lawmakers are getting set to revamp the way some funds for crime prevention are distributed after news reports revealed problems with the programs.

The city sets aside about $1 million a year of public safety tax revenue to fund the anti-crime programs - the grants currently need approval from just the Board of Aldermen's Public Safety Committee.

Investigations last year revealed that many of the programs were run by supporters or relatives of the committee members.

Aldermen Fred Wessels has introduced legislation that would require the entire Board of Aldermen to approve the grants.

"At least one group didn't even exist," Wessels said. "Somebody from Kansas City, a former state representative who said they have an organization that would help with crime prevention. And there were some other groups that were funded that were very questionable. It's pretty obvious to me that we need a full and fair an open review of the spending of this money."

The committee chair at the time did the right thing by pulling the money back when the problems were reveled, Wessels said. He expects his legislation to pass.