Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Policy Credited for Slide in Killings Task Force's Actions Saved Lives, Police Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Policy Credited for Slide in Killings Task Force's Actions Saved Lives, Police Say

Article excerpt

With murder in the city of St. Louis down 17 percent last year and at its lowest level since 1990, Chief of Detectives Joe Mokwa offered a single reason why: A get-tough policy on the city's most vicious criminals.

"We're taking a more proactive approach," Mokwa said. "Our Violent Crime Task Force has taken a lot of dangerous people off the street." Mokwa said he knows of a couple of criminals now behind bars who were involved in two or three murders apiece. When homicide detectives were unable to make a strong case, the Violent Crime Task Force locked them up on other charges.

"There's no doubt that getting some people off the street has saved lives," added Lt. Ron Henderson, deputy commander of the homicide division.

The city reported 205 homicides, down from the 248 slain in 1994.

Of those killed, 77 percent were killed with a firearm; 46 percent were under the age of 25; 82 percent were black; and 80 percent were male.

Those breakdowns are similar to previous years. …

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