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ST. LOUIS - Forty people have been murdered in the City of St. Louis this year. Less than half of those cases have been solved, leaving families looking for answers.

Police are working with the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation on a unique approach to give those families at least some of the answers they're looking for.

Johnson is hosting a meeting between the families of murder victims and police Thursday at 6 p.m. He says it's a chance for police and those families to share information about cases in hopes of solving them, and to get rid of the stigma many in urban areas have about police.

"So this no snitching garbage they have out here in the streets with these kids, this is an opportunity to get behind closed doors and get the information it takes to solve some of these cases," said Johnson.

He tells us this is the second meeting. His team passes along the names of the victims whose families have pre-registered to police. He says detectives will give those families any updates they can.

"It's derived from a town hall meeting that we had about 700 people in here. And they were talking about the police department has no relationship with this community and they just turn their backs on the family when they lose someone," he said.

"The police department, they can solve crime. They cannot prevent crime. Crime prevention goes into the home, then crime prevention goes into the neighborhood," said James Clark with Better Family Life.

Clark says this type of meeting is a cutting edge step in the right direction.

"We've got to begin to break down that code that says we do not talk to the police," he said.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with the Commander of the Homicide division recently and he says oftentimes witnesses don't want to come forward, usually for fear of retribution.

But if you have information, you can report it to crimestoppers and nobody has to know it was you. That number 866-371-TIPS (8477).

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