After a startlingly bloody weekend that added seven names to St. Louis’ homicide count, law enforcement and political leaders held a press conference yesterday to promote a crime-fighting partnership that’s been quietly under way since late last year, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A task force of 50 police officers from St. Louis and St. Louis County and federal agents from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration has been working to reduce violence.
The task force is working with prosecutors in St. Louis and St. Louis County and the U.S. Attorney's office to focus on violent offenders and drug traffickers. They've arrested violent criminals and taken guns, drugs and cash off the streets. The announcement was planned before the killings pushed the city's murder toll past 100, and on pace for 190 homicides this year. That would be a stark increase from the 159 homicides in 2014, which was itself a jump from 2013's 120 killings. The city is on pace for the most homicides since the early to mid-1990s, when numbers were over 200. The officials acknowledged that unveiling an ongoing crime-fighting program during a crime wave might lead some to question how effective it has been. “Had we not had an initiative like this, what would our numbers look like?” asked St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.