Finding solutions to youth violence in downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Two young girls are in the hospital after being shot dead in downtown St. Louis over the weekend. Community and government leaders say the city hasn’t done enough to address youth violence downtown and elsewhere, including the root causes of the problems and the solutions.

Metropolitan St. Louis Urban League head Mike McMillan tried to put the weekend’s troubles into perspective.

“We just had senior season, so the vast majority of our people are doing high school and going to a career or a technical college or university,” he said. “So you’re dealing with a small group of people causing a huge amount of problems and problems.”

McMillan admits much more needs to be done to reach troubled youth.

The Urban League has part of the Cure Violence contract. Workers go to crisis areas and seek out people with mental health problems, unemployment and other problems to keep them away from crime. McMillan admits they’re dealing with a lot.

“Of course we all know poverty and lack of opportunities and jobs,” he said. “And then, unfortunately, the culture, the time we live in that celebrates violence, only contributes to it.”

St. Louis City Councilman Brandon Bosley says the city dropped the ball on the issue of youth violence. He says there aren’t enough children’s activities to keep recreation centers open later.

Bosley once called for the National Guard to be sent in to patrol troubled neighborhoods and contain the violence.

“At the time I called the National Guard, that would have been a good preventive measure at the time because it was a tipping point,” he said. “Things have already turned around at the moment. “

Bosley says kids need more activities to keep them engaged.

“If we get these kids early and give them something to do, we put them in the recreation centers and put money into them and educate them, then you have an opportunity to tell them something,” he said. “You can’t tell them anything right now because they don’t know you, they don’t want to talk to us.”

dr Kendra Holmes believes the COVID pandemic is one of the reasons for crime and violence among youth, although crime did exist before the pandemic.

“There have been certain children who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and they are minority children, underserved children, and many of these children have lost loved ones in their families, often parents or grandparents,” she said. “Many deal with post-traumatic stress disorder because they see the deaths as the toll of the pandemic.” Finding solutions to youth violence in downtown St. Louis

Nate Jones

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