Missouri lawmakers are looking at a measure to establish a pilot program to address rising crime in St. Louis City and Kansas City.
The proposal would seek to reduce and prevent violent crime and improve safety by creating a number of policies and procedures.
House Democrat Brandon Ellington of Kansas City is the measure’s sponsor. Her says it addresses a number of practices related to fighting criminal behavior.
“That goes back to the evidenced based procedures to reducing violent crime, such as community connectors, working on the infrastructure in local municipalities, things of that nature that we know greatly reduces crime.”
The bill creates a fund consisting of existing money and voluntary donations which would be overseen by the State Treasurer.
It would not require mass funding for new activities, but would call for a single full time position to manage what would be called the “Intervention and Compliance Unit Pilot Program” or the “ICU 6 Pilot Program”.
The proposal offers five pillars to fight inner city crime. One would bring police departments and local leaders together to collaborate on solutions. Another would focus on development of evidence-based procedures to reduce violent crime.
The third pillar calls for the creation of policies and procedures to address crime recidivism, while the forth establishes policies and procedures for crime data collection and methods for monitoring crime data. The fifth pillar addresses to need to improve mental and social service programs.
Ellington says a large number of existing programs intended to assist offenders leaving prison are ineffective.
“In Kansas City, in the area that I stay in, there are several different programs that are supposed to help former inmates with housing” said Ellington. “I know for a fact, after going through these programs, talking to various people that have been through these programs, there is no housing attached to these programs.”
The measure calls for the pilot program to have members, including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department or the Kansas City Police Department, depending upon the city in which the program is established. City prosecutors as well as local courts, government leaders and schools would also be involved in the process.
Ellington says the measure would hold established practices and programs accountable for results.
“In a committee, we had a tax credit that would have actually put the bar at 70% success rate of that organization to be able to qualify for the credit. That’s what we want to do. We want to start tightening down where we’re wasting money and make sure we’re putting dollars into the best policies, or the best organizations that we can.”
Ellington contends the causes of high crime rates in inner cities have been identified.
“We look at the pillars that actually constitute long term criminality, we see that low income areas, lack of education, lack of community connectors, make areas extremely viable for violent crime.”
Ellington says the proposal focuses energy on using procedures and practices that have proven to be effective in curbing violent crime. It was introduced in the House Special Committee on Urban Issues Monday evening.