* St. Louis had the highest per capital murder rate in the country in 2019. So, this is good news…
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is crediting an intervention program known as Cure Violence for helping to reduce the city’s homicides by more than 25% in 2021.
“We all want to feel safe in our neighborhoods,” Jones said Thursday at a press conference trumpeting the program. “The Missouri Legislature prevents our city from making common-sense gun laws. So we have to look at other tools at our disposal to prevent violent crime.”
Despite the big drop, at least 195 people were still killed in the city, a number that Jones acknowledged is unacceptable.
“Cure Violence isn’t a silver bullet. It was never built to be a silver bullet,” she said. “But it is one piece of a larger holistic strategy.”
The Chicago-based program trains people who live in areas with high crime rates to intervene in conflicts. The goal is to prevent disagreements from escalating to violent crime, and to provide social services such as job training to neighborhood residents. […]
Overall, homicides were down 26% in the city from 2020 to 2021. In four of the five Cure Violence locations, homicides dropped at a rate higher than the overall decrease: 42% in Hamilton Heights, 70 percent in Wells-Goodfellow, 50% in Walnut Park East and 80% in Walnut Park West.
* Meanwhile, here’s the Tribune…
At the end of a year that saw at least 800 homicides in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot last month wrote to the Cook County chief judge with a request: Judges should immediately stop ordering certain defendants to await trial at home with an electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet.
It would be a sweeping policy change intended to keep violent offenders securely behind bars, albeit with implications for thousands of people who would likely be kept in custody as their cases took months if not years to proceed.
But many of the claims and statistics related in her letter and repeated at a press conference earlier this month are misleading — and some are simply inaccurate, the Tribune has found after examining the cases highlighted by the mayor.
Her letter cites data showing that 15 people were arrested and charged with murder last year while they were on electronic monitoring, commonly known as EM. But in at least five of those cases, the homicides actually occurred before the defendant was on an ankle bracelet, according to the Tribune’s review. And in at least one of the 15 cases, the defendant was not actually charged with murder at all.
There’s more, so go read the rest.
* Civic Federation: What the Data Tell us about Bail Reform and Crime in Cook County: Electronic monitoring should not be used as a replacement for high money bond amounts. In current practice, judges across the United States use high dollar amounts as a barrier to a criminal defendant’s pretrial release. In the new cashless system that takes effect in Illinois next year, there may be a potential for overreliance on imposing home electronic monitoring in cases where judges feel reluctant to release a defendant. However, based on the mixed research and lack of evidence of the effectiveness or appropriateness of electronic monitoring programs, electronic monitoring orders should be limited to only those cases that warrant close monitoring. Instead, judges should use other options available, such as pretrial supervision (periodic check-ins with a pretrial officer), which have been linked to more positive outcomes on defendants’ court appearances and not committing new crimes while on release.