St. Louis Mayor Vows To Defund the Police While City’s Murder Rate Soared

"Tishaura Jones" (CC BY 2.0) by New America

The mayor of the worst-in-country murder rate wants to defund the department and shut down a city jail.

St. Louis, Mo. is at a 50-year high murder rate, the worst in the country. It also has nearly 100 unfilled jobs in the police department. Yet, here’s the catch, the mayor wants to defund the police and shut down a city jail. Plus, the Corrections Commissioner of the city, Dale Glass, is resigning from his position. 

Tishaura Jones, who was elected last month as St. Louis’s first Black female mayor, had campaigned on a commitment to pass progressive criminal justice reforms.

In Glass’s announcement of his resignation last week, Jones stated that she did not ask him to step down. However, the mayor made it clear that she is not satisfied with how Glass ran things. 

Jones stated that whatever the past administration was doing was clearly not working. However, she added that they will still see if police cuts would answer this problem. 

At least 87 homicides per 100,000 population

In stark contrast, in the 1990s, then-Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, hired more police. He also stepped up law enforcement and locked away more felons. This move dramatically tidied up the crime in the city. 

“OTB St. Louis-481” (CC BY 2.0) by Office of Public Affairs

Now in St. Louis, there are at least 87 homicides per 100,000 residents. According to data from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in the year 2020. This number is the worst rate in the country. 

At present, the city is at its highest rate in the past 50 years and the population dropped at the same time in that area. 

Meanwhile, some officials were quick to blame the pandemic for the spike in violence. However, St. Louis had a high number of homicides in 2019, even before the pandemic started. 

Meanwhile, Jones told The Telegraph on Tuesday that more police does not prevent crime.

Jones added that they still have two police unions that are separate from each other. One of these unions is for black police officers and another union is for white police officers. 

She added that if these officers could not trust each other before, they cannot expect the people to trust them. 

St. Louis Mayor’s Plan: To slash funds from St. Louis police

The funds that will be removed from St. Louis police were intended to be redirected to social programs, an idea which she has repeatedly mentioned on her campaign trail. The St. Louis mayor also added as many as half of the police calls in the city can be handled by a person other than a police officer. 

The budget proposed for next year, which Jones revealed last April, would reduce $4 million from the police department. Said funds would be reallocated to affordable housing, the victims of support services, the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, and St. Louis’ Department of Health and Human Services. 

Said move also asks the city to reduce approximately 100 vacant police positions. 

The proposed budget does not contain funding for the medium-security jail in the city, which is known as “The Workhouse.” 

The St. Louis mayor told reporters that the city does not need two jails. She added that they need to lead people through the system and look for an alternative to prison time for some of the offenses.