The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

We Can Humanely Stop Crime

Last night I sat in on a zoom call organized by Cara Spencer, alderman and mayoral candidate in St. Louis. A panel of experts discussed law enforcement that was both efficient and humane. The panelists were:

1. Rick Rosenfeld, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL(

2. Dan Isom, former Chief of Police in St Louis and Professor at UMSL and Washington University.

3.Thomas Apt-Author of Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.

4.Mike McLively-Director of Community Violence Initiative at Giffords Law Center in Oakland CA.

What was advocated by all members of the panel was a public health approach to violence prevention. They called for a combination of intense social interventions with actors who are known criminals, and intensive police effort if that doesn’t work. Emphasis was on a partnership between police and community organizations. The program needs to be focused, balanced, and fair. Politics and race are seen as barriers. It was emphasized that neither a total disregard for police, nor a kick butt, law and order approach alone will work. The city of Oakland has reduced violent crime 50% using this approach.

Paul Dribbin


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