Comprehensive Public Safety Strategy

Over the course of the past several months, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has adopted a range of evidence-based, proven crime reduction strategies – which form the foundation of our comprehensive approach to enhancing public safety in each of our neighborhoods and communities. Crime and crime trends can be complex and dynamic, and cannot be addressed effectively by a single strategy. Our layered crime strategies help ensure that our department is working on numerous fronts to address violent crime and to hold offenders accountable.

The core public safety strategies being implemented by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department include the following:

  • Community Policing - The community is at the heart of our service to the City of St. Louis, and our residents, businesses and visitors are a key partner in our efforts to make our city safer and improve the quality of life for all of our residents. Through our philosophy of community policing, we empower every member of our department – from the Chief of Police to our most recent academy graduate – to serve as a community policing officer. This means that our police officers attend community meetings in their assigned areas, so that we can participate in community conversations, hear about concerns, and take steps to address issues. Our officers also conduct directed patrols in between calls for service in areas affected by crime; these patrols help build relationships and familiarity between residents and the police officers assigned to their neighborhoods.

    In March 2023, we completed a reorganization of our department to assign a Major to each of our patrol areas – North, Central and South. As members of our command staff, these Majors are responsible for carrying out this strategy, and are an immediate point of contact for the community. They serve as representatives of the Chief of Police, and are charged with working on a daily basis to troubleshoot community concerns and engage with the public to help enhance public safety in their respective areas.

  • District Integrity – Similar to our philosophy of community policing, another core strategy is that of district integrity, which involves assigning the same police officers to the same patrol areas each time they report for duty. Through district integrity, we empower members of our department – from our Majors to patrol officers – to get to know the community they serve and to take ownership and pride in working with the public to make their areas safer.

  • CompStat Methodology – Crime reporting, statistical analysis and information sharing are central components of modern policing. Since the appointment of Chief Robert Tracy, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has begun to implement the tenets of CompStat, which applies business management principles to policing in an effort to ensure greater levels of focus and accountability. This proven methodology has been used by the New York City Police Department since 1994, and has since been adopted by many other agencies across the country.

    The data collected and analyzed through CompStat supports efficient, targeted law enforcement efforts across the City of St. Louis for all residents and visitors, and the compiled statistical data is simultaneously used as a management tool for reducing crime, improving procedures and training, and enhancing transparency. The approach leverages crime analysis and statistics regarding incidents that occur in St. Louis, with tracking of data and trends in near real-time to provide the department with greater levels of accountability, focus and follow-up. It is also instrumental in helping crime analysts and department leaders to identify potential crime trends, and to mobilize resources accordingly. CompStat also helps SLMPD leadership hold supervisors accountable for crime and trends in their respective areas, with weekly CompStat meetings and presentations on both crime data, and the plans in place to address trends.

  • Intelligence-Led PolicingPolicing – Through this strategy, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department leverages some of the latest technology to gather and disseminate intelligence about criminal activity and crime trends, and use that intelligence to guide resource deployment. This strategy includes several key components:

    • Real Time Crime Center – Launched in 2015, the SLMPD Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) is staffed around the clock by commissioned police officers, and serves as the technology and information center for the department. Detectives assigned to the RTCC monitor, deter and evaluate criminal activity in real time through tools like surveillance cameras, license plate recognition systems and other law enforcement software platforms. This team provides investigative support to patrol officers and investigators and helps guide the deployment of police resources by identifying trends.

    • Crime Analysis – The SLMPD Crime Analysis Unit, established in 2007, is staffed by analysts who work to identify crime trends and patterns between incidents. This team is also responsible for social network analysis and other processes, by which investigators are able to identify those few individuals responsible for driving the majority of violent crimes – and as a result, enable the department to focus resources on those with the highest propensity for crime and violence.

    • Crime Gun Intelligence – The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department leverages acoustic gunshot detection technology, which immediately alerts patrol officers and investigators to gunfire and enables a more expedient response to shots fired incidents and shootings. This also ensures that police are made aware of incidents of gunfire that might otherwise go unreported. Our department also utilizes National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) firearm and ballistic tracing and analysis, and we have an embedded Crime Gun Intelligence Center in partnership with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This partnership, and our strategy of Crime Gun Intelligence, allows investigators to use ballistic evidence to help identify groups and individuals who are responsible for driving violence in our community. By identifying who is responsible, we are able to focus investigative resources on apprehending suspects and preventing the next shooting incident from happening, thereby “interrupting the shooting cycle.”

  • Embracing Alternatives to Policing – The SLMPD works closely with the City’s Office of Violence Prevention, which is based out of the Office of the Mayor. In particular we are working with the Office on the City’s Cops and Clinicians program, an alternative response model that includes dispatching trained clinicians to calls for service in an effort to provide non-law enforcement support to those individuals suffering from mental health challenge and substance abuse issues, among other challenges. This co-responder model has been adopted in other jurisdictions across the country, and has brought about positive results – with greater efficiencies in the allocation of police resources, and improved outcomes related to individuals in crisis.

  • Focused Deterrence – Our department is in the process of implementing a Group Violence Intervention program. This strategy builds on the foundation of focused deterrence, which involves identifying those with the highest propensity for violence and dedicating resources to addressing those individuals and their criminal activity. This program, which has been proven to be effective in other jurisdictions, provides an intervention to those most involved in driving violence – along with options to leave a life of crime through the provision of social services, employment opportunities and other benefits.

  • Partnering with Prosecutors – While police officers are responsible for investigating crimes and making arrests, this is only one component of the criminal justice system. It is critical that law enforcement leaders in St. Louis work closely with the other components of the criminal justice system to help ensure that offenders responsible for committing crimes and driving violence are held accountable. We have a close working relationship with the Office of the Circuit Attorney and will continue to explore ways to build on this partnership and to work in concert with prosecutors to ensure we collectively send a clear message that crime and violence will not be tolerated in our communities.

  • Community Partnerships – We recognize that not every challenge in our city is best addressed through traditional law enforcement action. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department works closely with dozens of community partners who provide our residents with substance abuse, mental health and physical health services and resources. We have also relaunched our Community Block Roll Calls, which take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the morning and afternoon and are held at locations throughout the city. These roll calls allow members of the public to observe and interact with police officers prior to the start of their shift, and to facilitate communication about concerns they might have in their neighborhoods.

  • Law Enforcement Partnerships - Our multi-jurisdictional partnerships and collaborations involve sharing intelligence and working collectively to enhance public safety in each of our neighborhoods. This is also a critical component of our overall public safety strategy, considering that St. Louis is a major city located along the Mississippi River and the tendency for crime and criminal activity to travel across jurisdictional boundaries. Members of the SLMPD work closely with our partner agencies at the local, regional, state and national levels on a daily basis.

  • Recruitment, Retention and Training– Like most law enforcement agencies across the country, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has experienced increased vacancies and reductions in applications. This has served to underscore the importance of a recruitment team, which would work year-round to recruit future SLMPD officers and to continue to increase the diversity of our agency through attracting applicants with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. The department is currently working on implementing a recruitment team of officers who have a passion for serving the City of St. Louis, and are dedicated to urban policing and would like to continue that legacy. Over the past several years, we have continued to organize new Police Academy classes and have also processed rehires – bringing back former police officers who have previously left to another position or agency, and have decided to return to serving St. Louis. We have also worked with the City to bolster the salary and benefits offerings for our current and future police officers to help increase retention. The implementation of proven crime reduction strategies, and the reductions in violence we hope to see as a result, also serve as a powerful recruitment and retention tool, as current and prospective SLMPD officers have the opportunity to be part of positive change in our neighborhoods.

    Another key component of these efforts is the extensive training we provide to each of our officers in our St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Academy and through regular in-service training – encompassing de-escalation, law enforcement legitimacy, procedural justice, implicit bias, cultural diversity and more. We also provide active shooter training and opportunities for our officers to participate in our Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, our Veterans Response Team, Crisis Intervention Team and a number of specialized teams that assist both members of the public and our employees, with a focus on health and wellness for officers and non-sworn professional staff.

Each of these core, layered crime reduction strategies play a key role in our efforts to make St. Louis a safer community, and to enhance the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors. Our recent innovations also allow SLMPD leadership and supervisors to continuously assess crime data and statistics, identify any possible trends, and best leverage and mobilize resources to respond to crime in real time.