Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anti-Crime Panel Tries United Way

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anti-Crime Panel Tries United Way

Article excerpt

A new committee aimed at reducing violence plans to use faith, hope and charity in its efforts.

The Violence Prevention Initiative, called together Monday by the United Way of Greater St. Louis, expects to make public a plan this summer that will outline ways to prevent and reduce violent crime in the St. Louis area.

The group is headed by Archbishop Justin F. Rigali and St. Louis Police Chief Clarence Harmon. The United Way will perform staff work for the 29-member committee.

Rigali said at a news conference Monday that representation from the "faith community" could emphasize the need for spiritual and human values.

"Hope can be restored," he said. "The signs of the times are alarming, but it is also hopeful that there is so much energy fighting this problem."

Charmaine S. Chapman, the local United Way president and a member of the committee, said the plan will set out various programs to reduce or prevent violent crime.

The United Way then will request proposals from charitable and social groups to administer the programs.

Harmon said the new group could accomplish more than other groups, which often have to stop at issuing reports. He said the involvement of the United Way organization and staff is a reason for optimism.

"I serve on a number of boards that get funding from them, and I know how they monitor programs to make sure the services are being delivered," Harmon said.

"Also, the membership is broad-based and addresses the needs of the entire metropolitan area - in Missouri and Illinois," he said.

The committee is divided into three groups:

Healthy Families, which will look at ways to prevent domestic violence. It will be headed by Michael Digby, a sales manager with Southwestern Bell.

Positive Alternatives for Youth, which will focus on gang violence. It will be led by Lt. Col. Charles McCrary, assistant chief of the St. Louis Police Department.

Safe Communities, which will examine drug-related violence. The chairman is Gerry Schwartz Jr., president of Sverdrup Civil Inc.

***** 3 KEY GOALS

Here are the goals of the Violence Prevention Initiative group:

Identify problems. …

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