Newly named police chief joins local clergy to help combat violent crime

ST. LOUIS - Tuesday night, St. Louis City’s recently named police chief, John Hayden sat down with more than a dozen local clergy members to discuss ways on how to combat violent crime within the city.

One of those efforts discussed was the involvement of churches.

“Get as many congregations across the city to be actively engaged and adopt families so the people in the community who feel like they haven’t been loved or are acting out of a place of hopelessness they will have the churches there to help them,” said Reverend Rodrick Burton of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church.

“The Church has a community-based orientation and the church is already involved in ministries and is already concerned about people having food clothing and shelter,” said Hayden, “so I think the church is a wonderful place to start.”

James Clark, Vice President of Better Family Life Outreach said that he is confident, involving the church to fight violent crime will work.

The social service organization has already introduced de-escalation centers that Clark said have helped in reducing violent crime.

“This crosses denominational lines, this crosses racial lines,” Clark said, “this is the church reinserting itself. Right now, we are in a crisis and the church is the best institution to address this crisis.”

The group of religious and community leaders focused their attention on several violence-prone communities including Hamilton Village and JeffVanderLou.

“The state of affairs in St. Louis Metropolitan area is unsustainable,” said Burton, “we’ve gotten used to the level of pain and this is an opportunity to change that.”