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Residents, faith leaders fed up with violent crime

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    ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — The St. Louis City is on track to beat last year’s record of homicides and Reverend Rodrick Burton says he’s tried of crime infesting the city.

“It’s terrifying, and it shouldn’t be that way and it doesn’t have to be that way,” Burton said.

He says seeing crime scene tape near the doorsteps of his church New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, has become commonplace. Monday police said they were called to the scene of a shooting and car accident at Goodfellow and McLaran around 2:15 p.m. When police arrived, they found Joseph Williams shot inside the car. The 17-year-old was rushed to a St. Louis hospital where he later died.

A second victim, Mykal Taylor, 20, was found shot dead in front of a residence in the 1800 block of Coleridge, which is in St. Louis County, shortly after the shooting. “In June it will be four homicides that have happened at Goodfellow and McLaran,” Burton said. Last June Burton expressed his frustrations with crime after finding four shell casings in the church’s parking lot.

Both the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis County Police Department joined together during a pilot program called the Violent Crime Task Force. The program ran from October to February of this year. Both departments patrolled the Jennings and North City area near Walnut Park. During this period, overall crime went down 29%.

A decrease Burton says was noticeable but was a “small impact.” Burton’s church straddles both Jennings and North City and he says since the program ended crime is accelerating. Residents are also hoping for a long-term solution to this crime problem.

The city has already seen 50 homicides so far this year. A total of 262 were killed in the city in 2019.

St. louis County Police stated the program would continue in some capacity. They sent us a statement saying, “portions of the data-driven effort will continue. The collaboration is not limited to the Jennings/Walnut Park location, rather it is applicable anywhere in the County and is based on real-time intelligence.”

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