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Op/ed: Anti-Crime Initiative Saves Lives With Proven Tactics

UMD Researcher, St. Louis Pastor Tout Broad Partnerships to Head Off Gun Violence

By Thomas Abt and Roderick Burton

Police investigate the scene of a shooting

Police investigate a July 2020 shooting that left three dead in St. Louis. In an op/ed, a UMD violence prevention researcher and a local pastor argue the city can markedly cut shootings and homicides with a new regional approach being implemented in the St. Louis area.

Photo by David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

St. Louis, a city that historically has one of the nation’s highest homicide rates, is joining with other municipalities in the region to introduce a strategy known as “focused violence reduction,” and a University of Maryland gun violence expert is providing expertise to help.

In an op/ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Associate Research Professor Thomas Abt, founding director of UMD’s
Center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reduction, and the Rev. Roderick Burton, explain how St. Louis can reduce homicides and shootings by 20% over three years and replicate the success seen by other cities that have implemented the initiative.

A proven approach to stopping violence is coming to the St. Louis region. The initiative, called Save Lives Now!, has the strong support of elected officials, law enforcement, community and faith-based groups, health workers, and the business community. For the first time in the region’s history, every county leader and the mayor of the city of St. Louis had a seat at the table when launching this new approach.

As a pastor addressing gun violence and as a criminologist committed to helping urban areas use proven strategies to stop killings, we believe this type of collective response is highly encouraging.

The strategy begins with close partnerships between law enforcement, local residents, community-based organizations, churches, and social service providers — relationships that are already being strengthened and better coordinated as part of this planning process.

Read the rest in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.



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