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Readers Mixed On ‘Most Dangerous’ List

December 15, 2010 Crime, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Readers Mixed On ‘Most Dangerous’ List

img_1411The results were mixed on the poll last week.

Q: St. Louis was recently named the ‘Most Dangerous City’ by CQ Press. Your thoughts:

  1. The methodology may be flawed but there is some truth to it 51 [29.31%]
  2. If they looked at metropolitan areas the St. Louis region wouldn’t be on the list at all. 50 [28.74%]
  3. The study methodology is highly flawed so the results can’t be trusted. 27 [15.52%]
  4. St. Louis is dangerous, but not the most dangerous. 27 [15.52%]
  5. Other answer… 8 [4.6%]
  6. Take that Camden NJ, we’re #1 this year! 7 [4.02%]
  7. Agreed, St. Louis is the most dangerous. 3 [1.72%]
  8. unsure/no opinion 1 [0.57%]

The other answers were:

  1. The city is very dangerous
  2. Horsecrap. So far.
  3. Major cities like Chicago aren’t even considered for this “honor”
  4. Dangerous enough to matter in the negative!
  5. The city is extremely violent, however the city/county divide scews the results
  6. No, St. Louis is not the most dangerous city.
  7. Not the most dangerous, but dangerous enough and we need to fix it, now!
  8. St. Louis is no more dangerous than any other large city.

I have no great conclusions based on the above other than 1) St. Louis can be dangerous 2) the results are flawed & 3) probably not the most dangerous. You see anything else in the numbers?

– Steve Patterson


Poll: Is St. Louis Really The Most Dangerous City?

December 5, 2010 Crime, Sunday Poll 7 Comments
ABOVE: increased police presence on Washington Ave following a fatal shooting on Halloween

There it was in news reports from coast to coast — St. Louis is the most dangerous city:

“St. Louis has replaced Camden, New Jersey as the most dangerous U.S. city, according to a study based on FBI crime data and released Monday. St. Louis had 2,070 violent crimes per 100,000 residents last year, well over the national average of 429, according to the report issued by social science publisher CQ Press. Camden ranked second this year, with Detroit, Michigan; Flint, Michigan; and Oakland, California rounding out the top five most crime-ridden cities, according to the report.” (Reuters)

And like clockwork the validity of the study is questioned:

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment. (FBI)

At the same time violent crime has spiked:

“(KMOV) – With 25 homicides, November is one of the most deadly months St. Louis has ever seen. It’s also the worst month St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says he’s seen in his 23 years as a police officer.”

In 2007 St.. Louis was ranked #2 most dangerous by the same group.  In November 2007 I wrote:

“Do I feel unsafe in the city? No. Are there places where I might feel unsafe at 1am, you bet! But there are likely places I’d feel unsafe in the safest city? Absolutely.”

The poll this week asks your thoughts on this #1 ranking.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: Cannabis sativa, medical marijuana and cities

I’ve inhaled once, the year was 2005 and I was 38 at the time (There Is A First Time For Everything). I was with three friends, all very responsible adults, and I was curious.  I see marijuana as less destructive than alcohol or tobacco.

ABOVE: The Cannabis sativa plant. Image from Wikipedia
It was not medicinal.  But in more and more cities medical marijuana is being legally sold:
DENVER — Medical marijuana dispensaries are springing up in Colorado’s major cities like coffee shops, nail parlors, tanning salons or taco shops.

It’s been 10 years since Colorado voted to allow the use and sale of marijuana for medical reasons. But in the past six months, the number of patients and dispensaries has skyrocketed.  (USA Today)

I should note that a friend, who is a doctor, sent me studies showing connections to cancer.  I don’t doubt the connection.  She questions the need for many that have prescriptions, where legal. As states begin to legalize medical marijuana the cities in those states are faced with policy issues about dispensaries.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Like hip-hop, health food and snowboarding, marijuana is going corporate.

As more and more states allow medical use of the drug, and California considers outright legalization, marijuana’s supporters are pushing hard to burnish the image of pot by franchising dispensaries and building brands; establishing consulting, lobbying and law firms; setting up trade shows and a seminar circuit; and constructing a range of other marijuana-related businesses.  (NY Times)

Cannabis sativa is often misunderstood:

Cannabis sativa is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. It is a herb that has been used throughout recorded history by humans as a source of fiber, for its seed oil, as food (see hemp), as a drug (see cannabis (drug)), as medicine (see medical cannabis), and for spiritual purposes (see spiritual use of cannabis). Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use.

While hemp is not a drug, growing it is illegal.  Environmentally friendly hemp products are imported or hemp material is imported so products can be made.Federal lawmakers need to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

The poll this week is designed to get your thoughts on Cannabis sativa.  I hope I have a good variety of answers.  This week I’m testing the ability for you to select up to three answers.

– Steve Patterson


Mr. Smith Goes to Leavenworth

August 26, 2009 Crime, Politics/Policy 11 Comments

Five years ago Jeff Smith came in second place out of 10 candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Congress.  He was a rising star.  So much so a documentary was made about that campaign for Congress.  The film, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington, Anymore?, was released in 2006:


In 2006 Smith was elected to the Missouri State Senate in another crowded election.

But it turns out he had knowledge of  a campaign violation from the 2004 Congressional campaign .  He lied twice about his knowledge of the violation.  From his statement issued yesterday as he resigned his seat:

During my 2004 Congressional race, I became aware of an independent effort to produce two mailers to benefit my campaign. Federal campaign finance law prohibits specific coordination between a campaign and anyone preparing an independent expenditure.

When the independent operator requested funding, I authorized a close friend to raise money for the effort, and my press secretary provided public information about my opponent’s voting record. I withheld my knowledge of these facts during the Federal Election Commission’s 2004 investigation, misleading investigators and filing a false affidavit.  (Source)

The lie is often worse than the deed.  Just ask Martha Stewart.

Jeff Smith represented the 4th District in the Missouri Senate (green below):

I live in the 5th District, represented by Robin Wright-Jones who was elected in 2008, replacing Maida Coleman who had been term limited out of office.  So Jeff Smith was not my Senator.  Still, knowing him, I’m disappointed.

Will he go to Leavenworth?  Probably not, but it made for a good headline.  Smith will likely spend some time in a white collar prison.  We will know after he and others are sentenced on November 10, 2009.

The FBI press release has all the facts in a no-nonsense way you’d expect from the FBI.

– Steve Patterson


Going Postal, 23rd Anniversary of Edmond OK Postal Shooting

August 20, 2009 Crime 2 Comments

It happened as I was preparing to start my sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma in the Oklahoma City suburb of Norman.  On the other side of the region, in Edmond, postal employee Patrick Sherrill killed 14 & wounding others before killing himself:

He was a relief carrier. He would carry different routes on different days, and was making delivery errors. He also delivered mail later than the customers were used to getting it. When people called to complain, they spoke to supervisors. On the afternoon of Aug. 19, 1986, Patrick was reprimanded by two supervisors in a glassed-in office.

On the afternoon before the killings, he approached a female clerk who had been kind to him (while most people ignored him or hassled him) and asked her if she was coming to work the next day. She replied, “Of course.” He told her she should stay home.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Locally and nationally, everyone was in shock.  Such shootings have become too commonplace over the last 23 years.  Security measures have increased.

A few months shy of nine years later was the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (Wikipedia). By that point I had been living in St. Louis for nearly four years.

Every region has tragedy.  I think we tend to forget about older tragedies as new ones happen.  So today I remember those who died in Edmond Oklahoma 23 years ago today.

– Steve Patterson




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