ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After 16 years in office, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is reflecting on the city’s progress and setbacks in crime.

Slay says over that time, the city became a safer place, with crime down 50 percent.

“We’ve also seen our homicides go up like many other cities, as well. That is very, very frustrating,” he says.

Slay lobbied for years to end the state control over the city’s police department, an arrangement dating back to the Civil War. He succeeded, and believes it brought the police and the city government closer together.

“Yes, it has helped us tremendously in fighting crime, and the city and the police department are working together a lot closer on addressing crime. That’s better for everybody,” he says.

Slay predicts crime will continue to be the top priority for his replacement, Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson.

“It never stops. There’s always some challenge there that we need to overtake and handle, but we’re up to the challenge and we’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do there,” he says.

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