With violent crime showing no likelihood of slowing, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is right to convene a summit this month to try to do something about the problem.
The mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors from Kansas City and St. Louis are to gather Sept. 16-19 at the Urban Crime Summit at the University of Missouri-Kansas City initially and then move to St. Louis. They will examine best practices and make recommendations, The Kansas City Star reports.
But rather than have the summit at the university, Koster should convene it in Kansas City’s 3rd or 5th districts at a library, school, community center, church or even on a city block so that residents and business owners in the neighborhoods can attend and give feedback. In addition, Koster should bring in people from agencies for the homeless, shelters for battered women and children, and the St. Louis and Jackson County jails to address the summit. In addition, Koster should have inmates and ex-offenders from Missouri’s penal system as speakers.
They would know best why people turn to violent crime and how best to prevent it from happening. The summit also should hear from educators in the Kansas City and St. Louis school systems and experts on bullying to understand how authorities can stop the flow from the school to prison pipeline.
Just hearing police, prosecutors and elected officials talk about the problem will only ensure the continuation of violent crime.