ST. LOUIS — There have been 191 homicides in the City of St. Louis so far this year.
At the same time in 2019, there were 138 homicides in the city.
Here are the total numbers for previous years:
- 2018 - 186
- 2017 - 205
- 2016 - 188
- 2015 - 188
Tuesday morning, police identified three of the latest homicide victims adding to that alarming number.
One of those victims is 54-year-old Sandra McCaw, who was shot and killed on Minerva, where she was found on the street with multiple gunshot wounds.
A close friend of hers says, "My heart is heavy the way she went that way. No one deserves that, no one. She just was a beautiful person, had a big heart loved everybody."
Now she has to say goodbye to McCaw, due to gun violence.
But she's not the only one with the hundreds of homicides reported, as of Tuesday morning.
Rick Rosenfeld, an UMSL Criminologist says there's been an increase not just in St. Louis, but nationwide.
Several factors could be contributing to it such as social unrest and COVID-19.
Through a study he conducted, he's learned police activity is down compared to last year because of the coronavirus.
In order to help curb this problem, Cure Violence steps in.
The program gets in front of the violence and addresses some of the root causes of it.
According to Cure Violence, communities that have adopted a health approach to violence prevention have seen up to a 70% decrease in shooting and killings.
Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed says, "It takes 60 days for that site when it's up and running for it to integrate in the community to make a change."
They've set up shop in three locations and have already started engaging with the community.
With boots on the ground, they also plan to provide resources for family such as job searching and mental health services.
Those locations include Wells-Goodfellow, Hamilton Heights, Walnut Park, and Dutchtown.
Dr. Fredrick Echols, the Director of the city's health department, oversees the program.
He's calling on the community to also do their part.
"Having the community be champions for reducing violence that's what really needs to happen, but we got a lot of work to do," Dr. Echols adds.
And Sandra McCaw's friend is also asking for the community to step up.
So no one else has to say goodbye too soon, to someone they love.
She says, "Stop the violence. Just try to love on each other."
To try and help fix the issue, Reed is also introducing a bill on September 18th to create a $2 million dollar fund for cash rewards on tips about murder cases.
The fund will be used to give $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and capture of anyone who has committed a murder in St. Louis.
The fund will also award $15,000 for the arrest and capture of anyone who has murdered a child under the age of 17 in the city.
The $2,000,000 will be transferred from the city’s emergency reserves account fund to set up and establish this crime victim reward fund.
If passed and signed into law, an anonymous tip line will be set up.