MHB Annual Report | FY21

St. Louis Area
Violence Prevention Commission (VPC)

Gun Violence Response Network

In 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released their Diagnostic Analysis for the City of St. Louis. It contained data-driven recommendations to address the city’s request for help after an increase in gun homicides. The St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission (VPC) adopted this report as one of our “north stars” for guiding the strategies in our action plan.

Specifically, the DOJ recommended the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SMLPD) “improve responses to non-fatal shootings by helping to link shooting victims and perpetrators to services and supports to prevent further involvement in gun violence.” VPC identified coordination of service providers as a vital step in achieving this. Our Service Delivery Committee convened victim service providers who can respond to all nonfatal shooting victims in St. Louis City including Crime Victim Center, Live Outside of Violence (hospital-based violence intervention program), St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Victim Services Unit, and SLMPD Victim Advocates, as well as service providers who have agreed to prioritize this population for services including mental health, employment, and legal assistance to form our Gun Violence Response Network.
To make the process as easy as possible for victims who have experienced trauma, we worked with United Way 211 to create a first of its kind single access point and gun violence intake. Now, when someone has experienced gun violence, they can dial 211, enter their zip code, and press 6 to speak to a navigator about their needs. They will not only receive all of the referrals that United Way 211 already offers, but they will also receive a short intake questionnaire that will automatically be sent to the Crime Victim Center for follow up and navigation through additional services. After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this Gun Violence Response Network officially launched on July 1, 2020. “According to VPC’s analysis, for every murder that happens, there are 20-30 nonfatal shootings. This means that there are 20-30 opportunities to offer services to interrupt the cycle of violence before it escalates to the next incident of fatal violence.”