While violent crime has been on a downward trajectory across the United States for three consecutive years, certain hot zones have maintained consistent or even elevated rates of bloodshed.
One such example is St. Louis, Missouri, where the murder rate rose to its highest point in nearly half a century.
“Prior police and prosecutorial misconduct”
According to the Washington Examiner, the rise in violence has come to fruition under the watch of District Attorney Kim Gardner.
For her part, even the prosecutor’s campaign website boasted of her soft approach to violent crime since first taking office in 2016.
Specifically, she addressed “the injustices in the system created by racial disparities, economic inequality, and prior police and prosecutorial misconduct” in defense of lower incarceration rates.
Gardner further boasted of limiting “the arrest and detention of people accused of misdemeanors and low-level felonies,” asserting that such an approach benefits “people who pose no public safety threat” by declining arrest “simply because they don’t have the money to bond out.”
Of course, plenty of critics would argue that those convicted of “low-level felonies” often do pose a risk to the public, especially in light of evidence showing that a disproportionate amount of violent crime is committed by a small number of habitual offenders.
“I would like warrants to be issued”
A 2017 report from the Baltimore Sun found that 36% of those arrested for homicide in that Maryland city were either on probation or parole when the crime was committed.
Gardner’s stance on violent crime has been roundly opposed by law enforcement officials in St. Louis, including Police Chief John W. Hayden, who said he “would like to see our warrants to be looked at and analyzed and then, when there are warrants that show that officers arrested people for probable cause, [he] would like warrants to be issued.”
Not everyone opposes the district attorney’s position, though, as the Examiner reported last month. Gardner was among a number of candidates who received funding from a group aligned with controversial far-left philanthropist George Soros.
While Gardner has generally handled violent crime with a light touch, that has not always been the case.
Over the summer, for example, she sought to prosecute a local couple for brandishing firearms when confronting a group of protesters outside of their home.