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St. Louis City unveils Summer Fun STL program to curb violence during the summer

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:01 AM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 1:33 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Crime has been a hot topic around the City of St. Louis over the past few weeks after a spike in violence since the start of May.

“The safety of our residents is always our number one priority,’ said Heather Taylor, Senior Advisor to the Director of Public Safety.

St. Louis City police say they have already begun parts of their summer initiative to curb down violence, by increasing the presence of both uniform and undercover law enforcement in key mission zones—or areas where crime is more prevalent.

“With this initiative expanding the 10th of June, what we’ll end up doing is having the afternoon watch work a 12-hour shift and half of the night watch will work a 12 hour shift,” said Lt. Colonel Michael Sack. “The result of this is we’ll have an increased number of staff between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. which is essentially the window where we have most of our issues, whether it’s related to cruising, traffic violations or violent crime.”

However, city leaders say fighting crime in the community is not just about strengthening policing. On Thursday, officials outlined safety plans, with a focus on kids, for the summer ahead of Memorial Day.

“Stopping cycles of violence starts with connecting kids to safe, healthy environments where they can learn, grow and make friends,” said Will Pinkney, St. Louis City’s Director of Children Youth and Families. “The neighborhoods where crime is most prevalent usually have the least opportunity for kids.”

The city unveiled a new initiative called Summer Fun STL, a program funded using $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funding. The program creates summer camps, programs, and pop-up events for the city’s youth to keep them in a safe and fun environment.

The events will run from June 6 to July 29 at seven locations in the area one stop shop for summer activities for children in the city.

“The city is proud to partner with st. Louis public schools to host free summer programs at seven schools throughout the city, serving between 500 and 700 youth,’ said Pinkney. “These programs will offer recreation activities, field trips and serve three free meals each day.”

City leaders hope Summer Fun STL serves as an additional outlet for children and prevent them from becoming victims of violence or getting caught up in criminal activity.

“We are giving parents and guardians peace of mind that their children will be in a safe environment as they head to work, do errands or more,” said Pinkney.

However, downtown residents like Dan Pistor think police also need to take a tougher stance on enforcing the city’s curfew on children and eliminate the use of scooters downtown altogether as a way to curb some of the criminal behavior in the downtown area.

“Diverting the kids elsewhere, I think it’s a good start,” said Pistor. “We actually think that the scooters should actually be removed from the downtown area for the time being. They have been a problem for the past few years.”

Right now, the city has a downtown curfew of 7 p.m. for scooters Friday and Saturday nights. When News 4 they believe this will actually curb any violence downtown, Taylor responded saying they made the best decision they could to address the public’s concern with the use of scooters downtown.

“When we have the public complaining about something that they feel is unsafe when they’re driving...we don’t want a child to be struck driving a scooter in the street or anyone to be harmed, so that was the decision based off of that. It’s unfortunate, but at the end of the day, the public spoke on that.”

So far there have been 69 homicides in the city this year. Nineteen of those homicides happened over the last 25 days.