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As St. Louis homicides surpass COVID-19 deaths, alderman introduces bill to curb crime

A woman was shot to death in the head in St. Louis' Benton Park West neighborhood on Thursday

ST. LOUIS — Bullet holes mark the spot where the city's 195th homicide victim was shot and killed.

"It's not just number 1,2,3,4,5 that was somebody's mother, somebody's uncle, somebody's aunt, that was somebody's child was taken away," said Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed.

Thursday St. Louis hit an unwanted milestone.

It surpassed its 2019 homicide total of 194 with more than three months left in 2020.

PREVIOUS STORY: St. Louis equals entire 2019 homicide total with 194 through mid-September 2020

"We said we can never have another year like that year, that has to be an anomaly that can never happen again and then right back to back we then surpass it," said Reed.

The shooting happened near the intersection of Utah and Pennsylvania around 9 p.m. Thursday. Neighbors 5 On Your Side spoke with off camera say the female victim was sitting on her porch when they heard the shots ring out. 

Neighbors described seeing her body being carried away in what has already been a crazy year for the city.

RELATED: Woman shot in the head in Benton Park West neighborhood dies

"On an average year only 30% of the murder cases are closed what that means is that 70% of the people who have murdered people have done it with absolute impunity," said Reed.

At the latest board of alderman meeting, board president Lewis Reed introduced legislation to combat this crisis with cash. The bill called "Justice for St. Louis families fund" would allocate $2 million to help solve the city's homicide cases.

"What it will do is offer cash rewards for people who give information leading to the arrest of people who have committed murder in our city," said Reed.

COVID-19 and crime are practically neck and neck. Deaths from the virus:192 and deaths from violence: 195.

"This is the biggest emergency facing the city bar none. COVID-19 we are going to make it through COVID-19 but on the other side were still dealing with this homicide issue and we have to address it," said Reed.

Reed says witnesses will be given a code and would not have any face to face interaction with detectives.

They'll use that code to check in and see if an arrest has been made and how to get their reward. The bill still has to head to committee.

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