The following is a statement from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, on the Urban Crime Summits held recently.
Sen. Chappelle-Nadal Wednesday praised the efforts of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster in conducting urban crime summits in Missouri’s two major metropolitan areas.
“General Koster has shown tremendous leadership in moving this issue forward. Crime has many contributing factors – poverty, lack of education, hopelessness and sometimes just bad people.”
“Many policymakers – on both sides of the aisle – pay lip service to the need of attacking the contributing factors of crime. However, if crime and gang activity does not affect their neighborhood, very little is done. I am extremely pleased that General Koster is moving this issue to the forefront.”
The General Assembly recently debated House Bill 436 – the so-called Second Amendment Preservation Act – during the annual Veto Session of the Missouri General Assembly. While Chappelle-Nadal opposed the bill as too extreme, she successfully amended language to the bill, encouraging responsible gun ownership, parental supervision of the use of firearms by minors, safe and responsible storage of firearms, and the immediate reporting of any stolen firearm.
Chappelle-Nadal is encouraged that as the discourse continues, General Koster will emphasize that crime truly is a metropolitan area discussion, not only limited to the city. Criminal activity – including gang supported criminal activity – occurs as much, if not more, in St. Louis County as it does in St. Louis City. In the county, law enforcement officers must frequently cooperate and coordinate across several municipal police departments and jurisdictions in order to apprehend criminals. The several school districts in the county also need to coordinate to ensure knowledge about gang activity in the schools is being transferred to the proper authorities so more informed law enforcement decisions can be made.
“For the last year I have participated in ride-alongs during the shifts of several law enforcement officers, as I have been specifically learning about gang activity. It is something I encourage policy-makers at every level to do because it is truly eye-opening,” Chappelle Nadal said. “It showed me that the policies of this state need to restore hope where they can and need to punish evil where they must.”