Gun Violence Initiative - St. Louis, MO

The Gun Violence Initiative was launched in Washington University's Institute for Public Health in the spring of 2015 to look at one of our greatest public health challenges: death and injury as a result of gun violence.

Through this effort, we invite scholars, medical professionals, community leaders, and citizens to take a hard look at the serious and tragic public health consequences of gun violence in America. The initiative explores three key themes: what we know, what we need to know, and what to do about this critical issue.;xNLx;;xNLx;This timeline represents a piece of that research, beginning with what we know, shown as a narrative timeline of initiatives, policies and events focused on crime prevention for the past 25 years in the city of St. Louis.;xNLx;;xNLx;Please visit our website to learn more about our ongoing research, partnerships and work to reduce gun violence:

1990-01-01 16:27:46



1991-01-01 12:51:58

SLMPD Police Commissioner

CLARENCE HARMON - becomes St. Louis' police commissioner, replacing Robert Scheetz.

1991-01-01 16:27:46



1991-02-17 16:16:53

Weed & Seed Launched

Weed & Seed was launched as federal crime prevention initiative in 1991. St. Louis was one of the city program's evaluated in the initial report in 1999. The program encourages a two-pronged approach: 'weeding' - an increased policing effort, and 'seeding' - an increased community development investment. The initial evaluations highlighted the lack of prosecution as weak link in the program's success, noting that increasing funding for police activities without also increasing funding for prosecution is non-sustainable and reduces long term impact effectiveness.

1991-05-15 10:33:09

Gun Buyback Program

Primarily a symbolic intervention. Staged by police forces, gun buyback programs are meant to encourage members of a community - particularly youth - to hand in illicit firearms in return for money. SLMPD hold them periodically.

1992-01-01 09:38:50



1993-01-01 00:00:00


267 - both the city and the county set records for homicides in 1993.

1993-01-01 04:15:20

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri

Edward Dowd becomes US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.

1993-03-11 00:00:00

Attorney General of the United States

Janet Reno confirmed as the new head of the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton.

1993-04-20 05:46:37

St. Louis Mayor

FREEMAN BOSLEY JR. becomes mayor of St. Louis, replacing Vincent C. Schoemehl.

1993-09-01 02:41:29

Search and Seize: First Year of Operation

Phase I of the Consent to Search and Seize initiative began in September of 1993 and ran until December of 1995. The program involved community tip-offs to police officers about homes where juveniles may be hiding guns. The police officers would knock on the doors of these homes and ask a resident adult for permission to search the home for unauthorized firearms. In return, any guns found were confiscated without any prosecution of the juvenile in question.

1993-11-30 08:06:33

Brady Bill Passes

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act mandates background checks for handgun purchases and transfers.

1994-01-01 00:00:00



1994-01-01 02:41:29

Search and Seize: By the Numbers

In it's first year of operation, the Search and Seize initiative seized 402 guns from juveniles - just over 10% of the 3,964 firearms confiscated by police that year. Of the citizens who were approached, 98% consented to police search of their homes. In 1994, the Mobile Reserve unit conducted between 5 and 30 searches each night the program was in operation - guns were found in roughly half of the homes searched.

1995-01-01 17:14:24



1995-01-01 23:09:00

Gangs of St. Louis

In 1995, SLMPD sources estimated that there were 280 gangs with approximately 3,500 members in the city of St. Louis. Half of gang members in the city were estimated to be 17 years old or younger. In 1995, police recorded 52 gang-related homicides and 1,573 gang-related assaults.

1995-01-15 16:16:53

St. Louis Becomes a Weed & Seed City

In January of 1995, St. Louis received its first grant as a Weed & Seed program city. Four neighborhoods were chosen as the first pilot sites: Benton Park West, Fox Park, Lewis Park and Fountain Park. An evaluation of this program written by Bossler and Decker exists, but is not available online. Contact for a copy.

1995-02-23 11:04:33

SafeFutures - Year 1

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention begins a five year grant to the City of St. Louis - $1.4million per year for five years to establish the SafeFutures program.

1995-12-05 00:00:00

SLMPD Police Commissioner

RON HENDERSON - becomes the new police commissioner, taking over the position from Clarence Harmon.

1996-01-01 07:23:09



1996-06-01 00:00:00

Ceasefire Initiative Begins Meeting

Based off successful results in other major issues struggling against violent crime, a number of organizations and individuals in St. Louis began participating on a Ceasefire Task Force.

1996-06-01 02:41:29

Search and Seize - Phase II

One month after the resignation of Clarence Harmon, the police chief who founded the Consent to Search and Seize program, his successor, Ron Henderson, suspended the program. When researchers showed him evidence to promote the program's accomplishments, he agreed to resume the program, but only with a change in emphasis such that the primary goal of consent searches was shifted away from seizing guns to arresting juvenile offenders. The program is also known as the Firearm Suppression Program during Phase II and Phase III.

1997-01-01 00:34:13



1997-04-15 00:00:00

St. Louis Mayor

CLARENCE HARMON - becomes mayor of St. Louis, replacing Freeman Bosley Jr.

1998-01-01 17:45:17



1998-11-01 11:20:05

Search and Seize - Phase III

In January 1999, the Consent-to-Search program was reestablished as a result of support from the US Attorney's Office, the availability of federal funding, and continued media attention on youth violence. The program is also known as the Firearm Suppression Program during Phase II and Phase III.

1999-01-01 10:56:21



1999-06-15 16:16:53

Three Additional Neighborhoods Added

Three additional neighborhoods were added to the St. Louis Weed and Seed Program: Tower Grove East, Gravois Park, and Vandeventer.

2000-01-01 04:07:25



2000-10-01 12:43:01

Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative - Program Begins

SACSI began in St. Louis in October, 2000. St. Louis was part of the second group of five cities chosen to participate. SACSI benefited from existing structures and relationships developed by the Ceasefire group, which had begun meeting in 1996.

2001-01-01 00:00:00



2001-01-01 09:36:27

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri

AUDREY G. FLEISSIG becomes US Attorney for the Eastern District, replacing Edward Dowd.

2001-01-18 12:43:01

5th District Initiative

Considered one of the most important initiatives piloted in SACSI, the 5th District Initiative began the third week of January 2001 and focused on roughly four square miles housing 28,000 residents. GOAL: to provide visible suppression of criminal conduct, rapid prosecution and support to high-risk and high-crime communities.

2001-02-02 22:27:01

Attorney General of the United States

John Ashcroft becomes the head of the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush.

2001-04-17 00:00:00

St. Louis Mayor

FRANCIS SLAY becomes mayor, replacing Clarence Harmon.

2001-05-05 15:20:34

Project Safe Neighborhoods Launched

Following 9/11, President Bush and Congress directed a large amount of federal funding towards Justice Department initiatives to reduce crime. Project Safe Neighborhoods was one of these large initiatives, and focused on fostering collaborative crime prevention efforts based on the Boston Ceasefire model and led by the locally based US Attorney's Offices.

2001-05-11 00:00:00

SLMPD Police Commissioner

JOE MOKWA - becomes Police commissioner, replacing Ron Henderson.

2001-06-19 23:09:00

Hospital Based Trauma Intervention Program

The initial effort involved cross-training police and hospital trauma personnel, improving the chain of evidence for bullets and other possessions, fostering improved communication, trust and reporting between hospital and police personnel, and in-house intervention counseling for victims of violence.

2001-06-23 10:14:34

Circuit Attorney

JENNIFER JOYCE - began her career in the Circuit Attorney's office 1994, and was elected to hold the office in 2000. She held the position until 2016 - making Joyce the longest-serving circuit attorney in the history of the city of St. Louis.

2001-10-01 00:00:00

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri

RAYMOND GRUENDER becomes US Attorney, replacing Audrey Fleissig.

2001-12-01 05:40:06

Most Violent Offenders Program

Also known as the Worst of the Worst (WoW) program. This effort was notable in that it required a great deal of information sharing and jurisdictional coordination, including efforts from local police departments, prosecutors, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the juvenile court system and Probation and Parole.

2002-01-01 00:00:00



2002-01-05 15:20:34

Project Safe Neighborhoods Launches in St. Louis

The PSN project in St. Louis, led by the US Attorney's Office of Eastern Missouri, focused on five specific priorities: partnership, strategic planning and problem-solving, Communication Outreach, Standardized Training, and Increased Accountability.

2002-07-04 22:05:38

Weed and Seed Evaluation Conducted

A grant was secured to do an independent evaluation of the Weed & Seed programs in St. Louis. This report has details for the specific programs and interventions used in each of the participating neighborhoods.

2003-01-01 00:00:00


73 - this year represents a significant drop in homicide that the Gun Violence Initiative is continuing to examine and research

2004-01-01 00:00:00



2005-01-01 15:06:32



2006-01-01 08:17:36



2007-01-01 20:26:19



2008-01-01 01:28:40



Gun Violence Initiative - St. Louis, MO

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