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Maryland Today | Guest Opinion: Anti-crime initiative saves lives with proven…

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St. Louis, a city that has historically had one of the highest murder rates in the country, is joining other communities in the region in adopting a strategy known as “focused violence reduction,” with a University of Maryland gun violence expert providing guidance his expertise available.

In an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Associate Research Professor Thomas Abt, UMD's founding director, said Center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reductionand Rev. Roderick Burton explain how St. Louis can reduce murders and shootings by 20% within three years and replicate the success of other cities that have implemented the initiative.

A proven approach to ending violence is coming to the St. Louis region. The initiative, called “Save Lives Now!”, has strong support from elected officials, law enforcement, community and faith groups, health care workers and the business community. For the first time in the region's history, all county leaders and the mayor of the City of St. Louis were at the table as this new approach was introduced.

As a pastor who studies gun violence and as a criminologist committed to helping urban areas adopt proven strategies to end killings, we believe this type of collective response is extremely encouraging.

The strategy begins with close partnerships between law enforcement, residents, community-based organizations, churches and social service providers – relationships that are already being strengthened and better coordinated as part of this planning process.

To read the rest in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.