Feds Double Gun Prosecutions in St. Louis

U.S. Attorney frustrated murder rate remains high. "[W]e've just got to do better."

Kevin Killeen
October 04, 2018 - 5:29 pm
Gun and cartridges of 9 mm.

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The feds more than double the number of gun crime prosecutions in St. Louis, but the murder rate isn't dropping as fast as they want. 

Marking the one-year anniversary of a violent crime reduction program, U.S. Attorney Jeff Jenson says lowering the murder rate is his main goal.

"So far this year, it's down about 10 percent in the city, a little bit more than 10 percent in the county, and a little bit more than 10 percent in the whole eastern district of Missouri," Jenson said, "But we've just got to do better."

Through the end of September, the feds prosecuted 628 defendants with firearms, compared to 282 this time last year.

Once charged in the federal system here, Jenson says the suspects face about a 90 percent conviction rate, so most are going to prison. 

On the prevention side, Jenson has been meeting with social service agencies to try to find jobs for young men before they turn to crime.

"Jobs stop bullets -- that's the bottom line," Jenson said, "and to the extent we can work with these organizations and help them do what they do well -- which is create jobs for young people -- I think that's probably the best long-term solution we have."

Participating groups include Better Family Life, the Demetrius Johnson Foundation, the Urban League's Save Our Sons program, Fathers Support and the Police Chaplains Association.