March 21, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced the release of a report outlining six recommendations to improve public safety in Missouri, including statutory changes as well as "best practices" suggestions for local governments and law enforcement. The report is the result of the Urban Crime Summit sponsored by Koster in September, in response to the high rate of violent crime in Missouri's urban centers. Last year, St. Louis and Kansas City each saw over 100 homicides, and Missouri's overall homicide rate is ninth highest among all 50 states.
"The cornerstone of any community is public safety," Koster said. "No matter how much our state invests in economic development, no matter how many natural resources lie within our borders, no matter how well we train our workforce, there can be no prosperity where people do not feel safe. Our Urban Crime Summit brought national leaders in law enforcement and criminology to Missouri, so we could learn how other urban areas succeeded in lowering crime rates."
Koster said the recommendations include statutory changes, including creating a pilot project for an armed offender docket in St. Louis and Jackson County to prioritize violent crimes carried out with firearms. The report includes sample legislative language. He said other recommendations identify best practices, including designing evidence-based policing strategies and strengthening reentry and community programs to reduce the rate of recidivism and standardizing the compensation of county sheriffs to avoid the loss of experienced officers who lead those departments. A copy of the report and recommendations of the task force can be found at http://ago.mo.gov/UrbanCrimeSummit/.
The Urban Crime Summit panel consisted of Attorney General Chris Koster, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson, Kansas City Police Department Chief Darryl Forte´. In St. Louis, the panel was joined by St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and then-Chief Tim Fitch of St. Louis County Police Department. Throughout four days in September, the panel heard testimony from a wide variety of experts, including Commissioner Bill Bratton of the New York Police Department and former Commissioner Raymond Kelly, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson, and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker, as well as criminologist Richard Rosenfeld from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.