Expert: St. Louis could be in store for another violent summer - KMOV.com

Expert: St. Louis could be in store for another violent summer

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Scene of 3 teens shot in drive-by shooting at bus stop in north St. Louis (Credit: Nick Zervos KMOV) Scene of 3 teens shot in drive-by shooting at bus stop in north St. Louis (Credit: Nick Zervos KMOV)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – After three shootings involving young people in three days, one of them deadly, crime seems to be increasing in the St. Louis area.

A family member from the Sweetie Pie’s reality show was fatally shot Monday, a young man was shot in the face Tuesday, and three teens were shot at a bus stop on March 16.

James Clark, Vice President of Community Outreach for Better Life, said the community should brace themselves for more violence and gunplay in the upcoming summer months.

According to Clark, St. Louis is at a pivotal time. He believes the culture of crime and violence will only expand.

He also said social services are not coming close to addressing the issue and using the traditional programs will not work. He said that is why there is more of a push to get out into the community.

Ryan Palmer, who is also a part of the Community Outreach Department for Better Family Life, said you can find him every day walking the streets, putting up signs, passing out literature, and knocking on doors.

“We ask people the question, ‘Do you have a job? Do you have warrants? Health insurance? Life insurance? How’s the family? How’s the children?’” said Palmer.

Palmer said he is something of a go-between for connecting people with services they need.

“You have single mothers raising children and as soon as the child is old enough to step off the front porch, he or she walks into a culture that sucks them in,” said Clark.

A culture of violence and crime, Clark said, disrespects authority.

Since 2009, the number of homicides in St. Louis in the spring and summer average between 10 and 13 per month. In 2015, there was a dramatic increase.

Clark said the problem is more than just jobs.

“People need drug treatment. People need psych evaluation; need anger management, personal development,” said Clark.

According to Clark, churches need to be more involved to assist in a culture shift.

Clark said social services can no longer sit back and wait for those in need to come to them. They must be on front porches and in the living rooms of those who need help.

Clark said the workers must be people like Palmer, who was born and raised in a neighborhood filled with crime and violence.

Palmer said he is absolutely making a difference.

Civic Progress is pledging financial support to Better Family Life. The organization is made up of executives and CEO’s from the area.

A spokesperson from Civic Progress said the support is an investment in the community.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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