Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – According to Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, it’s not possible to overstate the crime problem currently plaguing the City of St. Louis.

img 4329 Crime Fighting Through Community Development

Jamilah Nasheed. Photo: KMOX

“We are in a state of emergency when it comes to crime in St. Louis,” Nasheed says. “What I’m looking to do is take a more holistic approach to fighting crime.”

She adds that means finding ways to better use unoccupied buildings and vacant lots.

Much of her proposal is based on the “broken windows” theory – the more windows are missing in any given neighborhood, it’s more likely that crime will occur there.

“We know that children walking up and down the streets each and every day, all they see is hopelessness,” Nasheed says. “Crime is a direct correlation to what we’re seeing happening with vacant and abandoned buildings.”

That’s why she brought together a panel of experts for her public forum Monday night at the O’Fallon Park Rec Complex – experts that included real estate attorney Dale Sweet.

Sweet was on hand to explain how to redevelop down-trodden communities through the use of LRA property auctions and sheriff sales, along with non-profit donated property.

“We like to see churches buy the vacant lot across the street for a parking lot or a playground,” Sweet says. “We like to see a homeowner buy the vacant lot next door to put in a vegetable garden. We like to see people expand their yards.”

The group called A Firm Foundation has partnered with Senator Nasheed to invest and stabilize the city of St. Louis, especially the north side.

She says with the right resources and understanding, the goal of community rehabilitation is achievable – which would help cut down crime.

“What we want to do is get those (abandoned) buildings back on the tax roll and make those neighborhoods receptive to wholesomeness,” Nasheed says.

More than 150 people attended her session Monday night.

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