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St. Louis, America’s Most Dangerous City?

23 November 2010 9 Comments

Congressional Quarterly has released its annual report on America’s most crime-ridden cities. This year St. Louis topped the list, upping last year’s leader: Camden, NJ.

Activists in St. Louis play dead in a demonstration on healthcare reform. Image via St. Louis Area Jobs with Justice.

Also, Detroit was No.3, Flint, No. 4. Cleveland ranked in at No. 7. Gary, Ind. ranked 9th.

The National Conference of Mayors called the report a “premeditated statistical mugging of America’s cities,” saying the rankings are “bogus.”

St. Louis mayor Francis Slay said on Twitter yesterday “Crime stats reflect crimes. Crime stats rankings reflect how we draw our boundaries.”

Writers at UrbanSTL, took a different stance however, saying “I’m dumbfounded that many in St. Louis would rather attack those pointing out the fallacy of crime rankings than the ranking itself.”

I’ll speak for Cleveland when I say: A list? What list?

So many lists, so little energy to defend oneself (especially when you’re constantly fighting off muggers).

-AS

  • Chris

    What Francis Slay tweeted. If St. Louis could just draw its boundaries differently – so maybe it didn’t include, oh, St. Louis – then it could score much better in the crime rankings.

  • Special K

    This article notes that the FBI, which compiled the data, “discourages using the data for these types of rankings.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JL71QG1.htm

  • Ashley

    That’s just the city… It doesn’t even include St. Louis County because if it did, we might not have even made the list. I do agree that the city needs some major help. Get rid of the buildings that haven’t been occupied in 10 years or rehab it and put something in it. And pick up the dang trash!

  • http://www.urbansafetysolutions.com Urban Safety Solutions

    Until all law enforcement agencies are required to submit complete crime data using the same metric, the only thing we know for certain is that crime is real and these are dangerous times.

  • http://www.stl-style.com Randy V.

    It’s sad that CQ Press relies solely on these sensational “statistics” for their claim to fame. Crime stats are so misleading and subjective that it should be a crime in itself to even publish them without a comprehensive disclaimer. Factors that are not reflected in these rankings:

    1. Crime distribution – there are only a couple of zip codes that account for 80%+ of all the violent crimes in STL. As in any city, people here know what neighborhoods to avoid. Every city has their danger zones. St. Louis’s worst tend to be concentrated in a few neighborhoods on the city’s North Side.

    2. Crime context – 90% of these violent crimes are not random and almost always involve domestic disputes or gang/drug-related activity. It’s not like the average person is at greater risk of being attacked in STL than in other major cities.

    3. Geographic/demographic data – St. Louis is a landlocked city of only 61 square miles and is 100% urban, unlike places such as Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix, Houston, etc, which all have much, much larger physical boundaries and include large areas that would be considered suburban as opposed to urban. St. Louis does not have the luxury of diluting its crime figures like these other places which cover more land with more diverse economic and developmental features.

    In other words, anyone who takes these rankings at face value should be ashamed of him/herself. They serve no other purpose but to make cities look much worse than they actually are, and thereby contaminate public perception about them.

  • jayne

    In 1876 the city of St. Louis seceded from St. Louis County. They did not want to spend it’s tax dollars on infrastructure and services for a sparsely populated county. As a result there is no revenue sharing back and forth which the city now regrets as the county prospered with a primarily white, wealthier population. The county has since voted on several venues to financially support so they will prosper. The Zoo, Art Museum and Community College are among those that receive county tax dollars. The city would now like to be part of the county. The county, unfortunately, does not want it back. Thus, you have a small land locked area with a few neighborhoods of terrible crime that reflect these figures and give the entire metropolitan area a bad reputation. “East St. Louis” ( the actual name of the city) has probably worse crime figures than the city of St. Louis and when those figures are published it’s really embarrassing as people believe the cities are one and the same. East St. Louis is on the east side of the Mississippi river in the state of Illinois. Both states and cities need to fix their problems with murder, drive-by shootings, drug related crime and armed robbery at the top of the list. If anyone knows how to fix black on black crime call Mayor Francis Sly. Whoops, I meant Slay.

  • Kenneth Farmer

    The problem is that St. Louis citizens are all too ready to attack the statistics. Well, no matter how you look at it there is entirely too much crime here. Too much energy is wasted at fighting the statisticians and not enough energy spent fighting crime and its causes. The public school system is really bad & getting worse. Teachers salaries are not good. Libraries are underfunded. There is no program for combating or monitoring truancy. Many youths drop out of school at an early age & neither them nor their parents face any penalties for that. The jails warehouse people without any meaningful attempts at rehabilitation. No concentrated effort has been made to stop the production of meth here which is also the worse in the U.S. The mayor is not a dynamic leader because the citizens choose him based on his ability to keep St. Louis segregated, & not on his leadership abilities. Get real St. Louis. Your city has too much crime no matter how the statistics read.

  • george

    It’s quite simple in St. Louis. The crime is bad period. I know I witness it every day. There are some simple solutions here but it will require more money and public support. Number 1 solution would be to establish a curfew. If you’re out after a certain hour, police should pull you over and investigate, search and ect. Number 2, be stricter on repeat offenders of crime. Take a lesson from other countries and make it difficult for convicts. Number 3, abolish SLPS and charters, and make everything private. This way everyone takes responsibility over their own schooling. Truancy problems should be combated with DJO monitoring, and manditory restitution/ work programs for youth. Make school year long with minimal breaks. Have students earn the right to have summers off. Number 4, abolish welfare and re institute workfare. Make a cut-off for the number of children supported under welfare. Number 5, establish a curfew for children. If they are out after curfew then fine their parents and make them take parenting classes. In regards to gang activity, institute the national guard and shutdown all gangs with the national guard. Number 6, demolish all abandoned buildings and redistribute the property to the local community. Number 7, establish community programs to teach children values and skills. Current skills of how to sell drugs and steal are not acceptable. Number 9 increase SLPD to realistic levels to combat crime. Number 10, use the media to broadcast what is going well in St. Louis. This will decrease white fear of crime. Number 11, implement character education/ p.b.i.s in school, and make it a core part of the curriculum. This will ensure that children develop more middle class values so that they can interact with others appropriately. These solutions will work and they may seem harsh, but the problem is harsh and is degrading the quality of life of all city residents. Wake up Mayor Slay.

  • Elaine

    Don’t listen to what George says on making things private in St. Louis. When schools, businesses, etc go private, then nothing but corporate greed plays its ugly role, and end up making the city even worse than it is. Just take a look at those judges facing jail time for, “kids for cash.” They gave kids outstanding jail time in juvenile hall for small crimes just to get those private investors more money in exchange for money themselves. When things go private all hell breaks loose. Corporate greed. I wouldn’t be surprised if ole George who made that comment is a republican trying to get rich and/or richer off the poor. You need to seek Jesus and stop trying to make things harder for the city of St. Louis. God wants you to help the poor and not limit them even more.