St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield are among the top 15 most violent cities in the nation. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says communities and people’s lives have been torn apart from violence. He has launched the “Safer Streets” initiative that’s intended to reduce Missouri’s violent crime rate. Schmitt’s office is partnering and assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District with violent crime cases.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R)

“When you get around the state, and specifically in the St. Louis region, this is really important to people,” says Schmitt. “I can’t think of a more important cause for us to be involved with than helping to protect our fellow citizens. We’re serious about this. We want to be part of the solution. I think we can have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Schmitt tells Missourinet his office will dedicate three to five prosecutors to solely take on cases like homicides, robberies, car jackings and other gun crimes.

“That could account for up to 100 to 150 cases that we would be willing to take on to help fight this crime epidemic,” he tells Missourinet.

According to data obtained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the annual homicide rate (incidents per 100,000 people) in St. Louis has risen from 35.38 per 100,000 in 2012 to 66.42 per 100,000 in 2017.

For comparison, in 2017, the homicide rate in Jackson County was 24.04 per 100,000 and the statewide rate was 9.78 per 100,000. In 2018, there were 166 homicide incidents as of November, the most recent month for which data is available.

Additionally, in St. Louis, there were 378 carjacking incidents throughout 2018 – more than one reported carjacking every day, according to data obtained by the St. Louis City Police Department.

“This is a long-term effort. There’s no reason in the world why St. Louis needs to rank as high as it ranks in violent crime,” Schmitt says. “There’s other states, there’s other cities, there’s other communities that have got out in front of this. There’s no question that it’s held the region back. It’s held our state back in many regards.”

Schmitt, Missouri’s chief law enforcement officer, says crime has been “rampant” in the St. Louis area known as “Hayden’s Rectangle” and efforts will be focused there.

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