When the 2012 crime statistics were reported last week, there was good news in both St. Louis City and the portion of St. Louis County patrolled by St. Louis County Police.
In St. Louis City, crime fell from 2011 to an overall per capita rate that is lower than in 1970. The report showed a continuing decline in serious violent crime, although the number of homicides was the same as in 2011. Aggravated assaults were up in the first part of the year, but after the police department implemented new measures in August, the numbers declined. Rape was up as well, but the rise may be due to greater willingness by victims to report their assaults and new, broader definitions of rape.
University of Missouri – St. Louis Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Richard Rosenfeld was Don Marsh’s guest on “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss the crime statistics report. In addition to his regular duties, he is currently working in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Professor Rosenfeld described the city police department’s new “hot spot” strategy that places more officers in areas where crime is more rampant and during hours when the most crime is committed. He also discussed the importance of citizen involvement. When neighbors work with each other and with the police, crime rates decrease.
Rosenfeld noted that crime trends were similar in St. Louis County. However, the report only covers unincorporated St. Louis County and the 17 municipalities patrolled by the St. Louis County Police Department, which includes about 40 percent of county residents.
In the area of vehicle thefts, Rosenfeld noted that rates are up, but the majority of these are scooters, motorcycles and older model cars.