Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Louis Prosecutor At Odds with Police Over City's Gang Problem

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Jennifer Joyce
  • Jennifer Joyce
St. Louis police have a policy of not acknowledging gang-related crime for fear of glamorizing those involved in the underground organizations.

But that policy just doesn't make sense, said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce in an interview with Fox 2 yesterday.

"Whether you call them gangs or sets or the PTA, these are young men who are heavily armed and are shooting down each other along with innocent victims," Joyce told KTVI reporter Charles Jaco. "We're never going to make any progress against gangs unless we're willing to talk about the issue transparently. If we're worried about giving gangs publicity, that train has left the station. We need to have an honest public conversation about the problem."

As Jaco chronicled in a story last night, it appears that Patrice Thimes, the innocent woman killed last week while driving along Page Avenue, was caught in the crossfire between warring factions of a gang called the North Market Crips that operate near the city's border with Hillsdale.

Joyce estimated yesterday that at least 50 percent of the city homicides her office prosecutes each year are gang related.

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