Armed strike force to fight violent crime here

Armed strike force to fight violent crime here

An armed force of federal and local law enforcement is aiming to target St. Louis to help fight the continued spike in gun violence, according to ksdk.com.

“We need to do something,” said Darryl Green, who lives in the Visitation Park neighborhood. “These lil’ cats don’t care about killing nobody.” 

The crime-fighting coalition is made up of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents and local officers who will focus on areas with the highest amounts of violent crime. They will also investigate gang crimes, carjackings and burglaries of gun stores.

The website reported that Mayor Lyda Krewson hopes to put more officers on the streets to track down criminals and keep them locked up.

“We are over a hundred officers short,” she said.

Not much more was available by press time, except that the ATF would soon make its own official announcement on Tuesday.

A similar collaboration, the Violent Offenders Unit (VOU), was activated in 2007 under then-Police Chief Dan Isom, expanding the department’s former violence unit. The new unit included Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In six months VOU handed over more than 75 cases, including 15 indictments, to federal prosecutors and seized more than 75 weapons.

It is unclear whether that task force disbanded, but the city’s homicide rate has had its share of spikes.

In 2009, there were 143 homicides, and 144 the following year. However, 2011 saw a drop to 114, with another drop the next year, which recorded 108. Since then, murders have primarily been on the rise.

In 2013, there were 120 homicides, and 159 the following year. Years 2015 and 2016 each tallied 188. And a staggering 205 murders occurred in 2017.