ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Despite a violent weekend in which six people were killed in a 24-hour period in St. Louis, homicides are down in 2018 compared to the same time in 2017 and one reason may be a de-escalation program started by a local organization.
Better Family Life is an organization that works to help under-served areas of St. Louis. They have several de-escalation centers in the area which are aimed at resolving disputes without violence.
“There is no doubt that the de-escalation centers have reduced the number of shootings. We have successfully de-escalated 51 cases,” said James Clark with Better Family Life.
Often, it is family members who know a son or nephew who has a conflict with someone else that they see going down a road towards violence, so they call Better Family Life.
“In many instances, our gang and intervention officers and counselors at Better Family Life work hand-in-hand to de-escalate these situations,” said St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden.
Clark said those involved often don’t want the situation to end in gunfire but do not know how to resolve the situation themselves. Counselors at Better Family Life have de-escalated 91 percent of such situations brought to them.
“So we encourage third-party people who know about the conflict to come forward and give us the opportunity to work with the families of both adversaries,” said Clark.
The young people involved have said it is not snitching to call the de-escalation hotline but say it is prevention.
You can reach the 24-hour hotline at 314-203-3900.