St. Louis will soon start spending money on a program that officials hope will make a difference in reducing violent crime throughout the city.
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday unanimously approved a $5 million appropriation for Cure Violence, a program that’s been used in other cities throughout the country to prevent gun violence and homicides.
The Chicago-based program trains people who come from areas with high crime rates to intervene in conflicts. One of the goals is to prevent disagreements from escalating to violent crime.
“With Cure Violence we know about those things, and we engage with them in the front end,” said St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. “So it’s all about de-escalation and working to take people out of the current place they’re in to change their lives.”
On Thursday, Reed joined with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green in approving the $5 million through the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment. That board, which oversees the city’s budget, approved spending $5 million of the city’s $23 million surplus on Cure Violence.
Krewson had initially been skeptical of spending the money without looking at different options, but said a lot of discussions and meetings made it clear that Cure Violence is the direction to take.
The appropriation comes after a violent summer in St. Louis in which 10 children were killed. Alderwoman Marlene Davis praised the idea of funding an alternative manner of fighting crime throughout St. Louis.
“The grassroots solves problems,” said Davis, 19th Ward. “The things that we are dealing with is not a policing issue. And I’m so happy that we are finally looking at it that way.”
Alderman Bret Narayan, D-24th Ward, said the fact that his colleagues approved the money without opposition sends a message.
“We need to make sure we’re doing our due diligence and we’re passing things that can reduce the number of people getting killed on our streets,” Narayan said.
The bill now goes to Krewson’s desk. She’s expected to sign the measure. The $5 million is on top of $2 million already going toward violence-prevention programs.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann contributed information to this article.
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