The Office of Violence Prevention Kicks Off its Partnership between National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and Everytown's Be SMART Program in Gravois Park
NOBLE Executives and Be SMART Program to Provide Palm Cards on Secure Gun Storage and Free Gun Locks for Distribution
The St. Louis Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), a division of the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, announced an ongoing partnership with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Be SMART, an Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund program, to continue gun violence prevention efforts in St. Louis and spread the critical message to community members about secure firearm storage. In honor of today’s announced partnership, OVP will be hosting The Gravois Park Kickback on Saturday, June 15, 2023 in St. Louis’s South City. This free neighborhood event, in addition to featuring food, music and entertainment, will also provide residents with free gun safety resources and more information about secure gun storage. The event’s lead sponsor is OVP, and NOBLE will have gun safety locks on-hand, no questions asked for gun owners who attend.
“Gun violence has left very few St. Louis communities untouched. We are here with our Community Violence Intervention (CVI) partners to put a safety plan in place,” said OVP Director Wilford Pinkney. “The Gravois Park Kickback launches a monthly series of gatherings with entertainment and informational sessions in St. Louis City parks.”
"Today and every day going forward, we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with such incredible leaders and advocates in St. Louis," says NOBLE National President Brenda Goss Andrews. "All of us together—law enforcement, community partners, and residents—have a collective responsibility to prevent senseless gun deaths and injuries in our neighborhoods. Through this collaboration, we hope to empower the St. Louis community with life-saving information about the dangers of unsecured firearms and, ultimately, improve public safety for all who live there."
“An unsecured gun can turn an entire community upside down,” said Peggy Neufeld, a Be SMART volunteer with the St. Louis Group of the Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re proud that Wilford Pinkney and his OVP team have joined this important partnership to make sure gun owners in our community understand the importance of secure firearm storage.”
OVP will also work with Everytown for Gun Safety’s local grassroots Moms Demand Action volunteers to participate in and host community events to distribute secure storage information and gun locks. Gun safety locks are also available at the St. Louis Police Department, St. Louis Fire Department and St. Louis City libraries.
Firearm injuries are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S., with Black children being three times more likely to die by unintentional shootings than their white peers. Throughout the U.S., an estimated 13 million households with children under the age of 18 contain at least one gun. Not all of these firearms are stored securely: approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun that is stored, while loaded and unlocked. An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t lock all of their guns securely. Since 2015, at least 45 children in St. Louis gained access to a loaded gun and unintentionally shot themselves or someone else. Gun owners can make their families, homes, and communities safer by storing their guns securely—unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
The Gravois Park Kickback with a DJ, vendors, food and giveaways will take place on Saturday, June 15 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm in Gravois Park, 3200 Potomac St.
Office of Violence Prevention
Founded in July 2022, the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) coordinates public safety resources and community violence intervention programs to make St. Louis neighborhoods safer. The new division, funded in part from the America Rescue Plan, is designed to improve public safety outcomes using data-driven community violence intervention strategies. Board Bill 65 authorized the creation of the Office of Violence Prevention.
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county, and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit www.NOBLENational.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter.
Be SMART for Kids (“Be SMART”), a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, helps parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries, youth suicide, and gunfire on school grounds. The program encourages parents and adults to:
- Secure all guns in their home and vehicles
- Model responsible behavior around guns
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide
- Tell your peers to be SMART
For more information on secure firearm storage and the most effective ways to protect children from unsecured firearms, visit BeSMARTforkids.org. Additional information about unintentional shootings by children can be found here, facts and resources about child gun suicide can be found here, and information about gunfire on school grounds can be found here.
St. Louis Department of Public Safety
The St. Louis Department of Public Safety is the largest municipal government department in the City of St. Louis with more than 3,400 employees. The Divisions of the Department of Public Safety are:
- Building Division
- City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)
- Corrections Division
- Excise Division (liquor control office)
- Fire Department, which includes the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services
- Metropolitan Police Department
- Neighborhood Stabilization Team, which includes Citizens' Service Bureau
- Office of Violence Prevention
- Problem Properties Team
The mission of the Department and its Director is to use the department's resources to safeguard the City's state of well-being, protect lives and property, and ensure the complete safety of the nearly 300,000 people who live in the City, and the one million people who work, traverse, and visit the City of St. Louis daily. The staff of the various divisions are hard working and committed to improving their level of performance as well as developing policy and procedures that are transparent, understandable and streamlined. Together, we strive to be the premier municipal public safety department.