Top St. Louis law enforcers were already looking at new tactics that might stanch violence when seven homicides in almost 24 hours added to a fear that an especially bloody 2014 would carry into the new year, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Some concepts are familiar, such as City Hall's continuing press for a specialized gun-crime court that judges have resisted. Others are relatively new, reaching across the state to Kansas City, and across the nation to New York City, to examine innovations that might persuade people to put down their guns. While the intensity of the murder spate was shocking, the nine homicides recorded in the city so far this year put 2015 barely ahead of the pace from the past two years. In 2014, there were 14 in the whole month of January; in 2013, there were 15.
But it was a disappointing fresh start after 2014 ended with 159 killings, up almost one-third from the year before. “Crime is the absolute No. 1 issue in the city of St. Louis,” said Mayor Francis Slay. “Right now nothing else is close.” The vice president of a nonprofit group fighting poverty says people need to stop thinking of crime as a problem police can solve. “If we continue to expect police to solve this thing, then we're pointing in the wrong direction,” said James Clark, vice president of Better Family Life. “It's a family problem and a neighborhood problem. We too often make the police the scapegoat.”