It's Mayor Lyda Krewson's seventh week in office. On Thursday, she sat down with Five On Your Side's Kiya Edwards for a one-on-one interview on a variety of topics, including public safety.
Last weekend alone, more than a dozen people were wounded in shootings. Some of them died. We asked Mayor Krewson how, under her watch, the city can prevent and respond to such crime. Krewson says her administration has provided 16 to 24-year-olds with around 600 summer jobs. She says programs like that can help prevent crime.
"That will help young people to have better things to do, build life skills, get job skills for their next job," she said.
She says the city also needs additional law enforcement. That could come with a property or sales tax increase.
"St. Louis County law enforcement is paid considerably more than St. Louis City police officers are and so we are working right now to try to narrow that gap," she said. "I don't want to pay more taxes either but I also do want to have a competitively paid police department."
Another challenge is that many crime witnesses aren't providing information. We asked if there could be an incentive for them to do so.
"I think there's a small amount of funding in the Circuit Attorney's Office for witness protection," Krewson said. "Certainly we want witnesses to feel confident in being able to come out because we do need people to come forward in order to solve many of these crimes."
Krewson also says easy access to guns makes violence more of an option.
"The legislature in recent years has taken the approach of preempting the city from doing a lot of things, or any city, under the grounds that sort of a one-size-fits-all state law and I think that there are different needs in the City of St. Louis than there are maybe in Cabool, Missouri, or Moberly, Missouri, where I'm from."
So would she challenge state gun laws?
"We probably do not have the ability to overturn those at this time," Kreswon said.
In regards to the search for a new police chief, Krewson says there will be a nationwide search for candidates and it could take at least six months if not a year.
She says none of the plans that are in the works are instant fixes, but she says they're a step in the right direction.