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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


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Statistics can be manipulated to “prove” many things. We can break down crime stats within the city by ward or police precinct and see significant differences. We can compare crime statistics for highly-residential communities (Ladue) with those that have many more businesses (Maryland Heights, Fairview Heights) and, guess what, the latter will have higher per capita crimes, while the former will be “safer”. We can compare crime stats in wealthier and poorer areas, and poorer areas will have higher crime rates – rich people tend to sue, while poor people tend to get physical – see any episode of “Cops”. Do we have significant problems? Yes! Are we the worst? I don't know. But I do find it disquieting that more than a few of us take perverse pleasure / have gallows humor about being ranked n umber one . . .

  2. gmichaud says:

    St. Louis is not a walk in the park. I have lived in St. Charles County and in Warren County in rural areas, in neither case did I even have a key to the exterior doors, nor did I need one. I subscribe to a listserve in Tower Grove South and see the almost daily problems encountered that are not considered violent (meaning murders etc) but instead home break-ins, car thieves etc. So while homicides may not always be the focus, quality of life is.
    Still I choose to live in the city, but until we can fully discuss the massive failures of capitalism, along with the failure of the main stream media to be nothing more the Goebbels like propaganda arms of the right wing (this includes NPR from were I sit), America will not change. It is no accident America leads the world in incarceration, in military spending and in poor outcomes in healthcare and education. Despite the propaganda to the contrary, America is a massive failure.

  3. Alfred Fickensher says:

    OK,I guess it's time to post an out-of-towner's upbeat viewpoint.

    We lived in three large urban centers before settling for near 40 years now, here in the Quad Cities Iowa/Illinois. Those were Chicago & Chicagoland, Denver, and St Louis, and St Louis is the only one of the three which we still enjoy visiting and that we'd be willing to live in again. I'm talking city-block style live in again, not out in one of the curvy-street suburban Lexus Lands.

  4. Jpg5f2 says:

    I agree that statistics can be manipulated. I think everyone knows that. The simple truth, though, is that I can't go a single day without my google alerts announcing a murder, stabbing, or shooting. It is really sad, especially when most of these cases involve a teenager who likely would grow out of that stage of always having something to prove. Support the only St. Louis violence prevention organization http://www.pyconline.com

  5. Todd says:

    St. Louis has a crime problem, and it keeps middle class people (especially middle class folks with kids) from wanting to live in the city. True the #1 city for violent crime statistic is affected by the city proper being small and including most of the impoverished areas in the region, but even so, it's pretty bad. The odds of being a murder/manslaughter victim in St. Louis in 2009 were 1 in 2,500! By way of contrast, the odds of being a murder victim in my home town of Portland, Oregon in 2009 were 1 in 33,333.

    • samizdat says:

      I am of the opinion that as a man of Northern European descent, I am significantly less likely to be a victim of violent crime here in the City. Some may view this as “racist”, but I see it as simple statistical common sense. A recent story in the Post-Fishwrap Corporate Press Release had statistics and info on another murder. The detective quoted said that there was something of a war going on between a couple or so of the substance distributors in the City, and this was reflected in the 27 homicides in November. Does that fill me with fear? Not in the least. Now, could I get caught in a crossfire sometime? Possibly, though highly improbable. Why? Because I don't know any of these criminals, I don't hang out with them, or knowingly frequent the places they conduct their bidness. Now let's face a little reality: In spite of what some may say, the majority of property crimes and violent crimes here in the City are committed by young men of African descent. This is simply a consequence of the City of St. Louis having what demographers call a “majority minority” of African-Americans. Does this imply that all AA are involved with these crimes? Of course not, don't be bloody stupid. Perhaps ten percent of total pop may be amongst the perpetrator class, the rest are just trying to get by, like everyone else in this country. I would guess that if we located to an area with a high concentration of meth labs and Oxycontin addicts (Rush Limbaugh's nabe, fer instance), we would find property crimes, and possibly violent crimes, are probably high as well. You can't blame the good population for the crimes of the few in the community who decided, have made a conscious choice, to disrupt society with their immoral and unethical behavior. The vast majority of crimes committed on Wall St. have been perpetrated by white capitalists, but I don't come to the erroneous conclusion that all white capitalists who look like Lloyd Blankfien are crooks. Though considering that they all come from the same schools (Columbia, Harvard, Yale, etc.), perhaps they are an entirely new class of criminal. Funny how these criminals get lauded by the media, and coddled and stroked by our Senators and Reps, and yet if someone pulls a gun on me, that guy is going to “college” for the next five years, min. Woody Guthrie was right, as he sang in “The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd”: “Well, I've been around this world/I've seen lot's of funny men/Some will rob you with a six-gun/some with a fountain pen.” Both the white capitalists and some few young black men have made a conscious choice to refute the social norms, and engage in behavior which causes significant pain, and yet one of those groups is eating caviar and flopping on a deck chair on their private yacht or beach with a 1K/hour working girl. I'll leave you to guess which of these groups is which.


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