Recent rash of juvenile crime puts emphasis on crime prevention

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 6:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The Public Safety Committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen awarded $1.1 million Tuesday to 23 local agencies that work with the youth. The funding was termed “Crime Prevention Program Funds.”

A recent string of carjackings committed by juveniles, as well as the problem of car break-ins and car thefts committed by juveniles, has brought an increased focus on programs that work to build up youth and steer them away from crime in the first place.

Most organizations will receive $52,000. Safety committee chairman, Alderman Joe Vaccaro of the 23rd ward, said the city gives out $1 million yearly for youth programs, but this year they wanted to put added emphasis on smaller groups with unique programs.

“This year we felt with crime and everything going on that these smaller programs that don’t necessarily get the money, we’d give them a little bit more,” he said.

One of those smaller, unique organizations is Prison Performing Arts. John Wolbers is the executive director.

“Dedicated to enriching the lives of incarcerated adults and youth in St Louis and the greater St. Louis Community. We rehabilitate through the arts, building second acts,” he said.

Another one is called Good Journey. Dionne Ferguson is the organization’s founder and executive director.

“We pull those young people into our programs. We surround them with adults that will become mentors who provide them with the skill development as far as leadership,” she said.

Vaccaro said the city keeps the money in the bank and then reimburses the organizations for expenditures up to the amount of the grant.