ST. LOUIS — Twenty-two people were shot and seven people were killed over the holiday weekend in St. Louis all because of gun violence.
It comes as the city's 'Cure Violence' program continues rolling out behind schedule and city officials are explaining why.
"It was delayed because of COVID, you know we were in the process back in February and March of awarding the contract to the entity and that entity is employment connections who has the first contract to implement cure violence," said Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The Cure Violence program is designed to train people who come from areas of high crime rates to intervene in conflicts.
It's something Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said the city needs now more than ever especially since so many people were shot this weekend.
"My worry is that people are going to think that this is the new normal and become numb to it because that's just the way it is," explained Reed.
A 4-year-old boy was critically injured after being hit by a stray bullet near Page Avenue on the Fourth of July.
"It's important to remember they're not just numbers. That was someone's mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle somebody's son or somebody's daughter. Someone loved them and now they're gone forever." added Reed.
Programs like Cure Violence have shown success in other cities and alderwoman Megan Green is confident when the program becomes fully operational it will work in St. Louis, too.
"But what we have to realize is there is no silver bullet that is going to stop crime from happening. This is a process that involves hiring the right people in the community that will de-escalate crime before it happens," explained Green.
With one center up and running, Mayor Krewson is confident more Cure Violence centers will follow soon.
"Hopefully within the next few weeks we will have the other two neighborhoods awarded to an entity," added Krewson.
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