Home » Crime » Recent Articles:

St. Louis Natives vs. Newbies

ABOVE: St. Louis' street grid was a recent topic of conversation. Click to view in Google Maps

Last week I posted the following as my status on Facebook:

“I’ve got a couple of friends who are new to St. Louis. Ray & John arrived about the same time, one from SF, one from NYC. The other night at The Royale John was talking about how great the street grid is here! It is just so nice talking to non-natives because they tend to “get it” more than those born here.”

In a short amount of time a heated discussion broke out among my friends, getting nearly 50 comments very quickly.  My original point that those not from here don’t “get it” like those that move here as adults got lost in a debate about St. Louis vs. Kansas City.

Over the weekend a friend told me of a woman from West County that was certain she’d be shot and killed driving to the federal building downtown. In law enforcement, she had a weapon and was planning to wear Kevlar.  She doesn’t like going east of Lindbergh Blvd. Amazing people think like this!?!

Those new to St. Louis, especially those from more urban areas, seek out the urban areas of St. Louis whereas suburbanites often, but not always, fear urban areas. I’m dumbfounded each time I hear stories of people my age living in the region who are afraid to enter the city limits. So I often seek out those who move here from outside the region because it is all new to them.  I get to share my favorite restaurants & pubs, talking about architecture, the street grid — the raw potential.

My two new friends came here for work.  Had they found work in other cities they wouldn’t be here.  But they are quick learners, getting to know our people and institutions better than many who have lived here for years.

I know many natives, of course, who get it, who seek out urbanity rather than fear it.  I love my conversations with them as well but the thrill of introducing a newbie to gems in St. Louis is such fun.  I want them to tell their friends on the coasts of the potential here, the friendly people, the inexpensive cost of living, etc.  Each one needs to get several friends to visit with one deciding to move here.  Eventually it will snowball.  100,000 new residents from each coast would do the trick.

The ratio of natives to newbies would shift and so would the political winds. Sure, it will take a while, but I’m not going anywhere.

– Steve Patterson


Police HQ Moving

January 22, 2011 Crime, Downtown, Real Estate 8 Comments
ABOVE: Building at 1915 Olive to become new police hq after alterations

KSDK is reporting the St. Louis Police have purchased a downtown building to allow the relocation of their headquarters:

The City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are putting money seized from criminal activity to good use. Nearly $3 million in confiscated monies was used to purchase a new police headquarters in downtown St. Louis. (full story)

There has been talk about the Police buying this building for a while, one reason I had a picture ready to go. Still unknown is what will happen with the existing police hq on Clark dating from 1920?

ABOVE: The current police hq built in 1920

bIn June 2009 contributor Jim Zavist wrote a piece What to do with Police HQ? looking at the issues then facing the police board.

– Steve Patterson


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