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Koenig: Violent crime in St. Louis requires ‘all hands on deck approach’

The most effective way to decrease murder rates in St. Louis would be passing a concurrent jurisdiction bill, according to Sen. Andrew Koenig.

“The best way to get the murder rate down is to get the actual criminals prosecuted,” Koenig said. “We’ve seen the conviction rates go down and the number of prosecutions go down, and the murder rate is going up. So we need an all hands on deck approach, and I think the attorney general can prosecute murders on day one and he’ll get convictions and get these violent criminals off the streets.”

Koenig’s bill, SB 5, would establish concurrent jurisdiction in St. Louis, which would give Missouri’s attorney general the authority to hear and make decisions on homicides and carjackings in the city. Koenig introduced the bill last week during the special session’s focus on violent crime. It is not currently scheduled for a committee hearing.

Koenig said his bill would only allow concurrent jurisdiction in St. Louis, but he hoped it would expand statewide at some point. 

“We have a murder epidemic in the city of St. Louis, and in my opinion, we need to do everything we possibly can to get law and order here. We need law and order, and we need every tool in the toolbox to make that happen,”  Koenig said during Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics.”

Koenig also discussed the state’s COVID-19 response as well as his campaign.

Special session

This week’s panel included state Reps. Doug Beck and Phil Christofanelli, as well as attorney Brad Bakker and St. Louis Young Republicans President Frank Catanzaro. The panel discussed the special session on violent crime. 

“I commend the governor and legislature for wanting to take a look at the issue because crime is obviously a problem in St. Louis and we need to get a handle on it, but this isn’t it, and it’s time we look at solutions that address the root causes,” Bakker said. “You think the crime rate’s bad now, what do you think is going to happen when people start getting evicted for losing their jobs during the COVID crisis?” 

The panel also discussed the specific provisions included in SB 1 — such as the witness protection fund and residency requirements for law enforcement in St. Louis — as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on schools. 

“We need to get our kids back in school,” Catanzaro said. ”We can put procedures in place to make sure they get back in the classroom safely, get teachers back to teaching, and hopefully we can get some of these parents who have been laid off back to work. Let’s let the local school districts decide what they want to do, I think the governor made the right decision in that case.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.