By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A St. Joseph city councilmember says the city has made great strides in reducing crime, but must address the core issues of crime if it is to truly resolve the problem.
Councilmember Brian Myers says two root causes drive crime in St. Joseph.
“In a community such as ours, and I’ve been saying this non-stop since I campaigned, we have a problem with drug addiction in our community, we have a severe problem with mental health issues in our community,” Myers tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “And, until we learn to take those two things seriously, we’re not going to be able to make dramatic improvements in our crime rate.”
Myers sees those two causes as the primary drivers of crime in St. Joseph.
“If we don’t figure out a way to address the poor mental health crisis we have in our community and if we don’t address the high level of drug addiction in our community, we’re not going to be happy with the results of crime,” according to Myers.
Myers says mental illness and drug addiction don’t just drive crime in the city, but also play a major role in homelessness.
“People are homeless for different reasons, but a lot of our homeless people are suffering from mental illness, a lot of them suffer from drug and alcohol addiction,” Myers says.
And Myers asserts it makes fiscal sense to treat the underlying problems.
“It is more cost-effective for us statistically to take care of these individuals in whatever way we need to take care of them than it is to leave them on the street where they are a drain on our resources,” Myers says. “Petty theft, property crimes, in and out of our emergency rooms, those drive up costs for citizens like you and me far more than it does to make sure that these people get the proper treatment.”
St. Joseph could take major strides to resolve the problem, according to Myers, by establishing in-patient mental health treatment and an alcohol and drug detox center.