As cities around the country deal with rising violent crime rates, one mayor for the nation’s most violent cities has decided to take a controversial approach.
Many locals are outraged after St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones pledged this week to defund the city’s jail, as well as the police, saying “more police doesn’t prevent crime.”
The only problem? Her city has the highest murder rate in the country. Even worse, the mayor recently doubled her own security detail.
“We cannot provide much information for security reasons, however the staffing for the mayor’s security is based upon recommendations provided to our office before inauguration,” a spokesperson for Jones told the media.
Jones points to the experience of her father, who spent a year in jail for fraud.
“I would say that those experiences make me more relatable to the people that are represented,” she said. “The challenges that I faced are the challenges that a lot of my constituents have faced in their lives as well, so bringing all of that to the table as mayor guides my policy making.”
St. Louis saw 262 homicides despite its relatively small population. That murder rate beats out some of the most notoriously deadly cities in the country, like Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore.
Law enforcement supporters were outraged by Jones’ decision and have voiced their support for local officers.
“St Louis gets compared to Baltimore quite a bit,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote on Twitter. “Looks like Baltimore will be spending more on police while St. Louis will be slashing spending on the brave men and women of law enforcement. Huge mistake. Hopefully St. Louis democrats will change their minds.”
He ended his tweet with a phrase more and more police supporters are rallying behind as officers face calls to defund:
“Back the Blue.”