The mayors of Missouri’s largest cities met in Columbia on Friday to continue their discussion of how to reduce violent crime in the state.
The meeting brought together the mayors of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, plus police chiefs from each city and community business leaders.
St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson said these meetings are all about keeping Missourians safe.
“I think it's been very productive for the mayors of the four largest cities to come together to really attempt to address the violence that we have in our communities,” Krewson said. “Missouri has been leading the headlines with increases in violence crimes, and our largest cities have all ranked way too high in the rankings.”
The mayors identified three ways they plan to reduce the surge in violent crime, including common sense gun reform, witness security and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Though the issue of gun restrictions is usually unpopular in Missouri legislature, Columbia mayor Brian Treece says the mayors aren’t looking to restrict gun access, but to keep guns out of the hands of children, unless it’s to hunt, and out of the hands of previous violent offenders.
“Here in Columbia, for the individuals that were arrested in the month of September, a majority of them have had some prior gun related offense that three years ago, prior to permitless carry in the state of Missouri, would have been prohibited from carrying a gun,” Treece said.
Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas said that these meetings are always productive, but he knows there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Although this was our third meeting, it always feels like this is just the first step. And it’s going to be our continued marathon to make sure we solve this issue,” Lucas said. “Because what we will never do, and what we will never say, is that this level of violent crime is acceptable. We will never look at grieving parents, grieving relatives, and say, ‘that's something that just happens’ in any one of our cities.”
Lucas said he hopes that in a few years, rather than reading headlines about violent crime, people will be able to read headlines about all the positive things Missouri’s largest cities are doing.