According to the 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 150,000 St. Louisans under the age of 17 live in neighborhoods with risk factors that contribute to youth violence. Today community leaders gathered in Forest Park to outline a plan to combat the problem.
It's called the St. Louis Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force and it's designed to help young people stay out of trouble. Among the goals are prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry into the community. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says education is another key aspect to the program.
"Keeping young people in school, that is paramount, that has to take precedent," Dooley said. "If they stay in school and get educated, they have the opportunity to be productive citizens and get meaningful jobs, and that's the key."
The youth violence task force runs until the summer of 2016. It's being funded by a public/private partnership.