ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Attorneys and judges from across Missouri are trying to tackle the problem of gun violence on city streets.
The Missouri Bar's annual meeting is being held in St. Louis this year.
Thursday’s discussion focused no* on the Second Amendment or gun rights, but rather how to stem the violence that's plagued the city for years.
St. Louis saw more than 200 homicides last year, and more than 2,800 non-fatal shootings.
The city's public safety director says the cycle of violence has been going on for generations.
“We have to start young, look at even pre-juveniles. The adolescence population is very important,” said Judge Jimmie Edwards. “This violent behavior is learned behavior and because it's learned behavior, I believe it can be unlearned as well.”
Edwards was part of a panel discussion on efforts to curb the violence Thursday.
Healthcare officials say for years emergency rooms have done a good job of caring for the victims of violence and returning them to the community, but have fallen short after that.
Several hospitals around St. Louis are participating in a program called "Live Outside the Violence."
“In this program, patients who have been victims of violence will be paired with a clinically licensed social worker who will do an in-depth needs assessment and meet with them as much as weekly or more for year or more to address each patients' individual needs after their injuries,” said Dr. Kristen Mueller, who works in the Barnes-Jewish emergency room.
Panelists were also complementary of a program from Better Family Life that set up de-escalation centers to calm conflicts before they turn to violence.
“I think the more it gets talked about in the community and the more people know about it, folks might want to become part of it and establish de-escalation centers at their church or their community center,” said federal prosecutor Reggie Harris.