ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Residents of Tower Grove South are trying an approach known as a “neighborhood ownership model" to fight crime.
The strategy, which involves neighborhood watch patrols and residents showing up in court, especially during sentencing, has been adopted by 20 St. Louis neighborhoods and was originally attempted in Lafayette Square. Some residents are planning to go to the sentencing of a suspect who was involved in a carjacking in the neighborhood in June.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce couldn't comment on this specific case but supports the neighborhood court advocacy approach in general.
“The defendant is there, he has his lawyer. He has a right to make his statements and tell the judge what he feels the judge should consider, but I think it’s important in these cases that the people in the neighborhood, the property owners there that want to have peace of mind that we all deserve. They’re victims as well here,” said Joyce.
Each neighborhood runs the program its own way. In Tower Grove, social media is used to let residents know when they are needed for patrols or to go to court.
“We need to try something different and I think that is important that we look at the outcomes we are getting in court and if we do have repeat offenders why are they being released to the streets to perpetrate violent crimes,” said resident Jennifer Florida.
Click here to find out how you can start your own program.