Public Safety Portal
A dynamic report of City initiatives focused on reducing crime and building long-term neighborhood stability.
Mayor Francis Slay's number one priority is working to make St. Louis a safe place to live, work, start a business, and raise a family. The City of St. Louis is committed to using every tool available to reduce crime, drive down the murder rate, and support long-term neighborhood stability.
The City's crime reduction initiatives have been informed by a significant amount of public engagement over the past several years. Mayor Slay's Commission on Children, Youth, and Families brought City residents, experts, and public officials together to have candid, comprehensive conversations about crime and the conditions that lead to crime. Out of those public engagement meetings emerged the St. Louis Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force Community Plan. Recognizing that crime reduction must be a priority throughout City government, Mayor Slay's office also gathered public input regarding how crime reduction strategies should be incorporated into the City's Sustainability Plan.
The City's sustained efforts to implement these crime reduction initiatives --- from large programs to smaller, narrowly-targeted interventions --- have engaged every part of City government. Many of these initiatives go unnoticed. This portal is designed to inform all stakeholders about the City's crime reduction initiatives.
Addressing the Conditions that Lead to Crime through Prevention and Intervention
People commit crime as a last resort, not a first choice. Every person deserves access to an effective education, opportunities for meaningful work with fair wages, and support in the pursuit of a happy and stable life.
Promoting Opportunities for Jobs and Job Training
1. Job Opportunities
- The City and the County together were designated a federal Promise Zone, which fast-tracks federal resources to the neediest parts of our region and encourages private investment. Local communities will partner with federal agencies to create jobs, grow the economy, expand access to quality education, improve public safety, and increase access to affordable housing.
- The City was named one of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities worldwide. This designation will assist in developing and implementing strategies to reduce economic instability and social and racial inequality.
- As part of the City’s Bridge Program, a $5 million grant will be used to train and employ 3,000 young adults in meaningful, permanent jobs.
- The City and its partners established a $10 million Contractor Loan Fund for minority- and female-owned construction companies to be able to access capital and expand their businesses.
- St. Louis recently won a $1 million YouthBuild grant which will be used to partner with Ranken Technical College to train and employ young people to build new, affordable homes for low-income families.
2. Job Training
- The Building Union Diversity program aims to increase the number of women and minorities in well-paying construction union jobs by placing qualified candidates in pre-apprenticeship programs. The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) works closely with construction trade unions to organize the program and train new construction workers.
- The City collaborates closely with the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation to train young people as professional painters.
- The Harambee Youth Training Program provides hands-on tuckpointing training and life skills education to youth ages 12-18. It enjoys funding from the Community Development Administration and the Affordable Housing Commission.
- The Community Development Administration also funds the St. Louis Internship Program to provide an eight-week training and paid summer internship in non-profit and public organizations for 30 high school students with financial need.
- The City expanded the STL Youth Jobs summer program, which employs nearly 1,500 young people from high-poverty neighborhoods, teaches them job skills, and rewards them with a paycheck for their work. The program also teaches them financial literacy by establishing checking and savings accounts for each employee.
- The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) is dedicated to matching hard-working residents to job opportunities through no-cost job training and employment services.
- Mayor Slay encourages Community Colleges and Technical Schools to engage in partnerships with industry professionals and government and business entities alike to better assist in matching future employee skills with the jobs of the future.
3. Fair Wages and Economic Empowerment
- Mayor Slay strongly supports an increase to the minimum wage to reward hard work and decrease dependency on government assistance. A bill is currently before the Board of Aldermen that, if passed, will raise the minimum wage to $11 by 2020. This bill follows the example the Mayor set in 2014 when he raised the minimum wage for all City employees to $10.10.
- A new Gateway Bank for underserved populations is being built which will provide banking services to unbanked neighborhoods.
- Mayor Slay has supported initiatives by Treasurer Tishaura Jones to build financial literacy by providing children a savings account.
- The Treasurer's Office also runs the Financial Dignity Center, which offers financial counseling to put residents on a path toward upward mobility and stability. Savings accounts, seeded with $50, are also opened for all St. Louis Public School kindergartners.
Expanding Opportunities for an Effective Education
One of Mayor Slay’s top priorities is improving public education in the City of St. Louis. Children who attend high-quality schools are more likely to complete their education and are less likely to be a victim or perpetrator of a crime.
1. Expanding access to preschool and availability of effective public schools
- The City's Community Development Administration and Affordable Housing Trust Fund provide capital and resources to Guardian Angel Settlement, which provides early childhood education for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers whose parents might otherwise not be able to afford it.
- Mayor Slay pushes for more charter schools. By fall of 2015, there will be 35 charter schools in the City of St. Louis, which means parents have more choices when looking for a quality school that is right for their child. Because of Mayor Slay's tireless advocacy, St. Louis City has more K-12 school choice than anywhere else in the state.
- Public school enrollment has increased for the first time in decades. The City and St. Louis Public Schools have doubled the number of performing seats available to our children.
- The Family Courts Juvenile Division supports the Innovative Concept Academy, an alternative school program that strives to keep young people who have been suspended or are at risk of being expelled off of the streets and in a safe environment where they can continue their education, learn better behaviors and life skills, and become successful, contributing members of the community.
2. Increasing the number of quality after-school programs, summer programs, and recreation centers
- The After School for All Partnership (ASAP) expands access to, and increases the quality of, after school programs for St. Louis children that offer homework and academic support, teach social and life skills, provide health education and recreation, enhance character development, and engage parents -- all at no charge.
- The City's Community Development Administration funds the Gene Slay's Boys Club's program that provides structured tutoring and homework assistance to low-income youth.
- The City's Community Development Administration funds the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club's Out-of-School Time Youth Development Program, which provides structured, high-quality youth development and recreation programs after school and in the summer.
- The City's Community Development Administration funds the Youth Services Program at the Al Chappelle Community Center, which provides a host of services to youth in an effort to improve the lives and livelihoods of children and teens.
- The CDA and the St. Louis Board of Education fund a Truancy Prevention Program, which works closely with the Truancy Unit of the St. Louis Family Court to replicate "Check and Connect," an exemplary dropout and truancy prevention program recognized as effective by the U.S. Department of Education.
- The City's Recreation Division maintains 10 Recreation Centers throughout the City, offering programming for residents of all ages, including swimming, weight lifting, boxing, basketball, youth football, volleyball, aerobics, arts and crafts.
- The Mayor is looking into the effectiveness of instituting a Municipal I.D. system in the City of St. Louis.
- The United Way, with the support of the City, is leading the Ready by 21 initiative, which focus resources on the entire region to ensure all children have access to the supports they need to be productive, connected, healthy, and safe.
Improving Mental Health Services
- Project LAUNCH focuses on improving the systems that serve young children with the goal of helping all children reach physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive milestones. Together with federal, state, and local government, community-based partners are working to address the unmet needs of children’s health. Project LAUNCH is building a mental health and education system in the 63106 and 63107 ZIP codes.
- The City and the Regional Health Commission is launching a far-reaching initiative called Alive and Well that approaches community violence responses from the vantage of mental health. Constant exposure to social trauma, including trauma associated with racism, poverty, and violence has toxic consequences to people's health and wellbeing. Alive and Well employs multiple mental health and community action strategies for trauma prevention, reduction, and healing.
- A four-year $3.7 million grant will help the Mental Health Board expand mental health services for children, youth, and families with severe and persistent mental health issues.
- Mayor Slay advocates for the establishment of School Based Health Centers that focus on mental health case management and reproductive health.
- Mayor Slay calls on the Missouri Legislature to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) so that all children in the state have health insurance.
- The Mayor also strongly advocates for the Missouri Legislature to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.
- Under the Mayor’s leadership, the Health Department actively enrolls people in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance, particularly in low-wage communities.
Stabilizing Survivors of Violence
- The Homicide Ministers & Community Alliance was founded in 2009 to support grieving family members after a homicide. After a tragedy, the Homicide Division and HCMA ensure that an on-call minister reaches out to the victim’s family within 48 hours. The minister and the HCMA support the family through grief and recovery and help build relationships between victims and the SLMPD, which reduces the likelihood of violent retaliation.
Reducing the Likelihood of Former Prisoners Re-offending
- The City of St. Louis has “banned the box” from City job applications. Applicants are no longer required to check a box on a City job application if they have a prior felony conviction. This improvement gives people who have paid their debt to society to a second chance at creating a stable life.
- The City supports a state-wide law banning the box from employment applications in public and private employment.
- The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment helps find employment for men and women who successfully complete Ranken Technical College's job skills and education program for prisoners so that once they leave jail they will be put on a path to successfully re-enter the community.
- The City has received $1.5 million in state funding for prisoner re-entry programs which reduce the likelihood of an individual re-offending.
Implementing Innovative Crime Prevention Strategies
- The City was recently awarded a $1 million Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant which will be used to implement new strategies to stop crime in North St. Louis.
- Some strategies are: create safer physical environments through improvement and design; expanding restorative justice opportunities; and deter crime by developing the workforce with innovative new programs.
Strategic Law Enforcement
The City and its Police Department strategically approach law enforcement with several important objectives: stabilizing high-crime areas; focusing attention on the worst criminals; prioritizing the crimes with the greatest community impact; deploying innovative technology to prevent and solve crimes; and improving collaboration among federal, state, and regional law enforcement agencies.
Focusing Resources on High-Crime Areas
- The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) focuses law enforcement resources in high-crime neighborhoods through hot spot policing, which concentrates policing on neighborhoods that need it the most.
- The Rapid Deployment Unit is trained and equipped to respond immediately to dangerous and violent crime.
- The Police Department develops neighborhood-specific crime fighting strategies and shares them with neighborhood leaders to encourage collaboration between neighborhoods and the Department.
- To increase visibility and integration with the community, the Department now deploys more bicycle and beat patrols on community streets.
- The City and its law enforcement partners, including Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, will be implementing a focused deterrence program, including "call-ins," a proven strategy that has lowered crime rates in cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Seattle.
- The SLMPD employs UMSL criminologist Rick Rosenfeld to analyze data on profile, resource allocation, and other community issues.
Prioritizing Crimes with the Greatest Community Impact
- The Police Department recently added new homicide detectives in order to increase the department's ability to solve homicides.
- Mayor Slay, Chief Dotson, and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce continue to push for an Armed Offenders Docket so that criminals with guns are given extra scrutiny.
- The City and its community partners, including the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, SSM Health, and the Demetrious Johnson Foundation have advocated to defend existing gun laws. Recently, that group filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court to ask the Court to consider the widespread impact guns have throughout our community and to uphold the Felon in Possession law.
- Officers enforce quality of life crimes so that all residents respect and sustain the communities they live in.
- The SLMPD’s Anti-Theft Device Program is one of the most successful in the nation. The Department sells steering wheel clubs, license plate covers, license plate fasteners, personal vehicle safes and motor scooter locks to City residents at a heavy discount.
- The Bike and Scooter Theft program is a free bike and scooter registration program in which the SLMPD issues a numbered decal for bikes and scooters. If the property is ever stolen and recovered, the Department can easily access owner information and return the property.
- Mayor Slay is looking at ways reduce the number of minor warrants administered in the City, with the ultimate goal of eliminating minor warrants all together and replacing them with a comprehensive strategy to recoup fees from violations through the tax code.
Deploying Innovative Technology to Prevent and Solve Crimes
- The Real Time Crime Center utilizes state-of-the-art technology to identify and distribute information to officers in the field so that they can prevent crimes, react immediately when crime is detected, and access detailed information during investigations. The SLMPD is working with several Community Improvement Districts and individual businesses to include their security cameras on the mainframe of the Real Time Crime Center.
- The Police Department has deployed Shot Spotter technology, which can respond to a gun shot within fifteen seconds and send real-time information -- including the location of the shooting, the number of shots fired, and the type of gun used -- to a Police Dispatcher. Officers can respond to violence immediately and have a much higher likelihood of apprehending the criminal.
Strengthening the Relationship Between the Community and Police
1. Ensuring Police are Held to a High Legal and Ethical Standard
- The City developed and implemented an effective independent Civilian Oversight Board. This Board will ensure that officers are accountable to the people they serve.
- The Police Department began using body cameras in December 2015 to ensure transparency and safety.
- The SLMPD created and specially trained the Force Investigative Unit, which will review every officer-involved shooting.
- Every officer-involved shooting is now turned over to the Circuit Attorney’s office and the United States Attorney for additional, independent review.
- The City supports a change in state law that would require an independent prosecutor to investigate all fatal police shootings.
- The SLMPD protects whistleblowers. As a result, most reports of abuses or infractions are filed by officers themselves.
2. Integrating Officers into the Communities they Serve
- The Police Department’s Community Engagement and Organizational Development Division was implemented in 2015 to guarantee equality and respect to all citizens while working to keep them safe. The CEOD’s mission is to cultivate trust and build partnerships between the SLMPD and each one of the city’s neighborhoods. The SLMPD Office of Community Engagement coordinates community programs and outreach.
- The Community Service Partnership brings together officers and residents to clean up alleys, sidewalks, and vacant lots.
- In the winter, the SLMPD and Aramark Services host Senior Citizen Warm-Up. Officers attend lunches at senior centers and get to know those residents who may need a little more help in the winter months. At the end of the lunch all seniors are given a hat and gloves for the cold weather.
3. Building Relationships Between Officers and Youth
- The SLMPD supports youth sports with the Police Athletic League (PAL), which pays for the equipment, uniforms, league fees, registration fees, and insurance for more than 700 youth in the City. Each of the 40 teams is partnered with an officer who gets to know the city and youth better while working with PAL.
- The Do The Right Thing program recognizes children who have been nominated by teachers, parents and neighbors based on their good behavior, laudable acts, and service to the community. The Metropolitan Police Department, along with regional partners, honors ten children each month.
- Books and Badges is an innovative tutoring program that provides a unique learning experience for children and St. Louis police recruits. Recruits from the Police Academy tutor elementary school students in reading and writing for one hour per week. The goal of Books and Badges is not only to improve the reading and language art skills of elementary school students, but also to promote the image of police in the community by presenting police officers as positive role models to our school children.
- The annual Cops 4 Kids: Patrolling for Presents is held every December in partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) and Target Department Stores. More than 30 police officers and employees team up with St. Louis City children who are “Littles” with the BBBS. The officers and employees act as mentors to the children as they shop for holiday gifts for their family and themselves. The children are selected for this event based on need during the holiday season.
- Every summer the SLMPD teaches children important safety lessons while having fun at the Safety Outreach Summer Camp. The camp is completely free and children learn about fire safety, gun safety, bicycle safety, and the proper use of 911. Safety professionals, including Police Officers, Firefighters, and others, teach all the lessons and get to know St. Louis youth.
4. Educating Citizens about the Police Department
- The Citizens Academy is a 12-week course offered to citizens of St. Louis that provides an insider’s view into the day-to-day job of a St. Louis Police Officer. During the course, citizens gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the department through instruction in the department’s history and structure, predicting and analyzing crime patterns, gang intelligence, homicide investigations and community policing techniques. Nearly all of the instruction is provided by commissioned police officers. The course is designed to strengthen the bond between the department and the community.
- The St. Louis Police Explorers Unit is an opportunity for young adults to work together with SLMPD officers to learn about the history and mission of the Department, gain practical working experience, and serve the community alongside a uniformed police officer.
- Mayor Slay will look into the advisability of communication reforms for the SLMPD, specifically as it pertains to disseminating information to the press and increasing public availability the six police district leaders.
5. Ensuring the Police Department Reflects and Respects the City's Diversity
- The Police Department has recruited four academy classes in a row that are 50 percent African-American.
- The Ethical Society of Police and the City are working together to increase the number of best available minority candidates to the Police Academy to better reflect the community police serve.
- Mayor Slay encourages the police department to develop and adhere to policies that enforce better methods for interactions with communities of heightened sensitivities such as the LGBTQ, Muslim, Arab, South Asian, immigrant, special-needs, and non-English speaking communities.
Improving Collaboration Among Law Enforcement
- Mission SAVE (Striking Against Violence Early) is a collaborative initiative between local and federal law enforcement. The program combines the skills and resources of the SLMPD, St. Louis County police, FBI, and DEA to get the most dangerous criminals off the street through coordinated crime fighting tactics and deterrence incentives. The SAVE team also includes the United States Attorney, Circuit Attorney, and County Prosecutor, and employs the office that is best equipped to deliver the appropriate justice for a specific crime.
Addressing Neighborhood Conditions that Lead to Crime
The City is committed to improving the quality of life in each of the City's neighborhoods so that every citizen of St. Louis feels safe. The City has partnered with several organizations to improve the housing stock and stabilize neighborhoods, and has spent millions of dollars improving public parks and expanding access to recreational and education centers.
Promoting Safe, Affordable Housing
- Since 2001, the Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) has invested more than $24 million into affordable housing construction projects. The investment has also leveraged more than $478 million from other private and public sources. This totals to more than $500 million spent to expand and rehabilitate housing stock throughout the City.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded St. Louis the $500,000 Choice Neighborhood Planning grant to invest in housing and social services in the Near North Side.
- The AHC dedicated another $1 million for home repairs so low-income residents can live safely in their homes.
- Since 2001, the City has also invested more than $24 million to leverage $478 million in private investment to expand and rehabilitate market-rate and affordable housing throughout the City.
- The City has invested more than $100 million in almost 500 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals
- The Mayor is looking into the effectiveness of lifting the $5 million Housing Trust Fund cap as part of an overall strategy of ensuring affordable housing for city residents.
- The LeadSafe St. Louis program has dramatically reduced the incidence of lead poisoning through free home inspections.
- Brightside St. Louis enriches and beautifies St. Louis by restoring, maintaining and growing the community landscape, including removing graffiti from public and private buildings. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in our community by educating, engaging and inspiring St. Louisans to make our City cleaner, greener and more environmentally sustainable.
- The City's Community Development Administration and the Affordable Housing Commission funds the Healthy Home Repair Program for low and moderate income homeowners to be able to maintain their homes, creating more stable neighborhoods.
- The LeadSafe St. Louis program has dramatically reduced dangerous lead paint poisoning in children by inspecting and remediating homes for free.
Eliminating Problem Properties and Addressing Problem Neighbors
- The Problem Properties Task Force brings together police, City prosecutors, building inspectors, and neighborhood stabilization officers to hold property owners responsible for neglect.
- The Neighborhood Ownership Model is a citizen-led program that receives considerable resources from the Circuit Attorney's Office, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Problem Properties Task Force. It empowers neighbors to work together to help police, prosecutors, and the courts to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Citizens are trained to identify problems and engage law enforcement to intervene when they believe a crime is occurring. They may also secure a Neighborhood Order of Protection against persistent offenders or offer victim impact statements to judges to ensure a judge understands how specific crimes and criminals negatively impact their neighborhood. Residents may also set up an email distribution list to alert one another of criminal activity or court dates.
- LCMS National Housing Support Corporation connects community revitalization groups with expertise and financial resources. The group, in partnership with the SLMPD and other community organizations, will be instrumental in implementing a Neighborhood Ownership Model in the College Hill Neighborhood. These efforts will focus on reducing crime and revitalizing the neighborhood.
- The Citizens Service Bureau registers and routes residents' requests for City services to improve quality of life in their neighborhoods.
- The City's Community Development Administration (CDA) funds Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri to match youth with mentors who help them succeed.
- The CDA also funds Community Health-In Partnership Services, a program which trains teens to be peer health educators and support other youth struggling with proper nutrition, depression, and violence.
- The Resources for Learning Program, funded by the CDA, takes a creative, research-based approach to substantially increase children’s success in communication arts and mathematics; equip children to become powerful problem solvers and critical thinkers; and provide access to and competitive knowledge of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
- Neighborhood Stabilization Officers serve as community liaisons to police, aldermen, City agencies, social service organizations, community groups, and individuals to identify permanent solutions to ongoing problems in order to empower constituents to sustain a quality environment within their neighborhood through assistance, education, intervention and organization.
- The City's Building Division targets vacant and condemned buildings for demolition to improve quality of life and surrounding property values. Nearly 10,000 buildings have been demolished since 2001, including targeted demolitions of buildings that have the greatest impact on crime.
- The City increased funding to Better Family Life and supports its Neighborhood Alliance model to empower individuals and prevent crime. Under this model, caseworkers go door to door in the city’s most challenged neighborhoods to connect individuals and families to resources that can help improve their lives.
Promoting Development in Every Neighborhood
- The North-South Metrolink expansion is Mayor Slay's priority transportation project to better connect people to jobs and opportunities from North St. Louis County through downtown St. Louis and on out to I-55 and Bayless Avenue in South St. Louis County.
- The City focuses on Transit-Oriented Development to better coordinate transit and housing in an effort to improve upward mobility among low-income residents by lowering the combined cost of housing and transportation. The City invests money from the Affordable Housing Commission to spur the development of affordable housing near train stations and bus lines to make it easier for people to reach jobs. The AHC set aside more than $1 million for housing near major public transportation lines. Review the Development Study.
- The Mayor's Office recently supported the introduction of a series of bills to the Board of Aldermen that will lower the burdens on small business, remove unnecessary red tape, and update antiquated portions of the City Code.
- Mayor Slay is working closely with the Metropolitan Taxi Commission to bring ride-sharing services, such as Uber, to the City of St. Louis. These services will create positive competition for taxis and expand access to mobility in the City.
- Mayor Slay and Metro are in discussion regarding the development of a reloadable transit card.