St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee approves public safety plan bill

ST. LOUIS — In the wake of the record number of murders in St. Louis city last year, the head of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is pushing a new tool to combat crime.

Board Bill 222, introduced by Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, would create a public safety plan with data-driven results to better determine what areas the city needs to implement its crime reduction services.

The bill passed unanimously out of the board’s public safety committee Wednesday and will be read for the first time before the full Board of Aldermen Friday.

“We’ve struggled with not having a comprehensive public safety plan in place for a long time,” Reed said. “Our hope is that this bill will address some of the issues surrounding public safety that we’ve all been challenged with for years,” Reed said. “The adopting of a public safety plan will begin to lay out the process.”

The bill directs the Public Safety Director to complete an annual public safety plan. The plan will be a comprehensive crime plan that is high level to address all facets of crime. It will be evaluated on an annual basis, with the first report scheduled for October 31, 2019, and must be data-driven. It is also required to include national best practices when developing the plan.

Once completed, it can then be reviewed year-after-year to determine what is working and what is not working, regardless of who is in the positions at city hall.

“The other big piece of this is that it would be a data-driven plan. So at the end of each year we would take a look at the data, take a look at what was successful and what was unsuccessful,” Reed said. “We will see some tweaks and changes in the plan to better target the needs of the communities across the city of St. Louis.”

The plan will be presented to the board’s public safety committee on an annual basis. The completed plan will recommend goals for strengthening public safety, improving community relations and reducing the crime rate with recommended strategies, guidelines and a timeline for achieving such goals.

Other cities have implemented similar ordinances and strategies, including Scottsdale, Milwaukee, Chicago and New Orleans.

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