STL Learns You Cannot “Cure Violence” With Interrupters

Sean Pavone /
Sean Pavone /

Cities ripe with gang activity have tried all sorts of programs to eliminate or at least limit gang violence but have been coming up short. Many large cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and New Orleans have all but resigned themselves to their demise from the gangs. For those who are willing to do the work for it, they can stay out of these areas.

Residents in Saint Louis, Missouri, decided they wanted to try something they considered “new” for combating violence in the city. Calling it the “Cure Violence” program, it was established back in 2020 along three of the city’s neighborhoods. Inserting trained de-escalators called “interrupters,” the program was largely deemed a failure. With only one of the three reporting any improvement, it seemed to be a case of too little effort and too little results.

According to a July study published by Washington University’s Institute for Public Health, they found unsurprising results. “It is estimated that approximately 12 instances of violence were prevented since the start of CV in Wells-Goodfellow. There is no evidence of a significant decrease in violence in the Dutchtown or Walnut Park sites as a result of the CV program . . . With the exception of decreased violent crime rates in Wells-Goodfellow, there is an overall lack of evidence for the effectiveness of CV.”

Modeled after another failed initiative in Chicago, the purpose of the CV was to hold community events like block parties and barbeques, as well as provide the so-called “violence interrupters” who could help de-escalate a situation and mediate issues between people or gangs. From the study, many people saw massive holes in this logic from the get-go.

As one CV opposer and the former president of the American Society of Criminology, Richard Rosenfeld, told the Daily Caller, it’s awkward for the black community to tell people not to trust the police and to do their own policing. All while knowing full well the distrust and experiments they had purported on them by doctors in the past.

This doesn’t make for a smooth transition or feeling for them as they continue down the line.

A failed program like CV is a horrible mark against any sort of progress made against gangs, and yet it’s these same liberals who claim they can “solve” crime who only keep coddling it. One of the biggest problems that accompanies the CV programs is the lack of sustained funding. They make these programs to make headlines, then they leave them high and dry. This same lip service, fake promises that are the hallmarks of the Democratic party only serve to continue to destroy the American judicial and taxation systems.

Complicating the situation even further, some CV “interrupters” have found themselves the target of violence instead. One pair arrived on the scene to calm things down and instead wound up laying on the ground, shot up over 40 times. When these stories leak, for many, it’s the only time they even hear of these CV programs. A lack of representation and true impact on their communities is one of the hardest parts.

Other programs like boxing programs that were formerly held at the Police Athletic Leagues have largely gone underfunded as well. With certain gangs and teens not willing to put down their guns and strap on some gloves, it becomes a harder and harder sell each year to get people to volunteer their time and mentor these kids. This loss of a connection with the community makes it even more difficult to keep making a difference.

As one STL resident named Sydney told researchers, “I think it [curing violence] would probably look like something like getting the neighbors involved. Having some police presence. . . Talking about getting people more safety-conscious and more responsible for their actions or something like that. . . If doing something of a violent nature, they have to be held accountable for that.”

Unfortunately for Sydney, the days of real responsibility aren’t here right now. Perhaps if they’ll return the funding to the police, we can get back to that.