Task Force to Assess City’s Role in Gun Violence
Posted on 06/12/2024

Task Force to Assess City’s Role in Gun Violence

UPDATED - First meeting and more at cityofcape.org/gvtf

The City of Cape Girardeau is forming a Gun Violence Task Force to publicly review current programs and policies, and to determine what more could be done by the city to deter gun violence.

“Our city has seen various issues develop in recent years that impact the level of safety we expect to see here, in our neighborhoods and our business communities,” said Mayor Stacy Kinder. “Our community is pleading for these issues to be addressed, and the City needs to partner with the community to make a difference.”

The effort follows several very public incidents, including a shooting at a graduation and the tragic shooting death of a 17-year-old earlier this year.

“Well-supported law enforcement is an essential component of public safety,” said Kinder, “but they alone can’t produce the changes that are needed in our community. Those are the things this task force will begin to look into, and specifically how the City might impact or advocate for some of those changes.”

Through the end of 2024, a committee representing neighborhoods and agencies from the private, nonprofit, and government sectors will meet to review current and potential programs and policies. The topics to be covered will be partially determined by the committee itself, but are already expected to include a review of local data, chronic nuisance property policies and other current laws, nonprofit programs, support for at-risk youth, and successful case studies and initiatives from other communities.

“This task force will be a strong start for City Hall to dive into the city’s role in issues that surround gun violence here,” said Kinder. Nonprofits, law enforcement, and other service providers and community members work continuously to end violence and crime, but this collaborative effort is the first of its kind for Cape's city government. “In partnership with the community, our combined efforts can result in a safer Cape Girardeau,” said Kinder.

Officials have participated in events such as Wear Orange Awareness and the annual SNAP Prayer Walk. Additional announcements are also expected soon from a local nonprofit launching a comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence through community engagement and a variety of grassroot strategies.

The public can attend the Gun Violence Task Force meetings or watch them online, providing feedback throughout the process through the website, their Council members and City staff. Meetings will be scheduled and announced soon, with the first meeting expected in July. “Our neighborhoods, families, and businesses demand this focus, and I’m thankful for the community members who are pledging their time and energy in this important effort.”