Crime | St. Louis Public Radio

Crime

Circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce on SLOTA June 3
Alex Heuer/St. Louis Public Radio

Circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce has been in the news quite a bit recently. Her decision not to charge a St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer in the shooting death of VonDerritt Myers sparked protests at her house, which led to multiple arrests, and internal investigations into the way police officers handled the incident.

Looking for the estranged husband. (Digital print, 2015) Sarah-Marie Land
Sarah-Marie Land

Artist Sarah-Marie Land is working to bridge the gap between the banality of daily life and the sometimes disturbing events that take place around us.  

“It’s important for individuals to see a different documentation of crime in our city. It really helps you think about your environment differently,” said Land. 

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Funding to put additional police on the St. Louis streets likely won't go to voters until November.

The city's public safety committee took more than three hours of testimony Wednesday on the measures that set up the funding mechanisms for the new officers. But in the end, lawmakers took no action, which likely scuttles the hope of Mayor Francis Slay to ask voters for their approval in August.

Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated at 1:35 p.m. Friday with additional information about the crimes.

A spate of violence in St. Louis overnight Wednesday left six people dead in five unrelated incidents.

"This is a big black eye on our city," a somber Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference Thursday evening. "I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the families of these victims. This is something that we're not proud of." 

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Updated with comments from police chief Sam Dotson and circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Even though overall crime continued its downward trend in St. Louis, 2014 was a violent year in the city, with 159 people killed. 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 7, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has an image problem that Ferguson either brought to light or didn’t help, depending on your perspective. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said addressing those image issues will take a lot of work.

Homicides reported in the City of St. Louis, according to Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, by year. The 2014 year-to-date number is as of 10/27/2014.
Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics / FBI

In 2013, the city of St. Louis recorded 120 homicides. The city’s 148th homicide of 2014 occurred Tuesday night.

That’s nearly a 25 percent year-over-year increase, and is a problem that needs to be investigated, said Richard “Rick” Rosenfeld, a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and former president of the American Society of Criminology.

Rosenfeld doesn’t buy into the “Ferguson effect” — the notion that crime increased after the August shooting death of an 18-year-old man by a police officer in Ferguson, at least not in homicide numbers.

City of Pine Lawn website

Updated with a copy of the indictment and additional information.

The mayor of a small North County municipality has been arrested on federal extortion charges.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took Sylvester Caldwell into custody on Thursday. He'll be arraigned on a single count of interference with commerce by extortion on Monday. 

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Illinois voters will consider this November whether to amend the state constitution over rights for crime victims.

Victims already have certain rights, including: to be told about court dates, to attend trials and to give impact statements.

But some advocates believe a constitutional amendment is needed to better protect these rights.

Dotson: Overall Crime Down, Hot-Spot Policing Working

Jul 30, 2014
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many cities around the country, St. Louis is dealing with the ongoing problem of urban crime. Just over half-way through the year, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says overall crime is down over 11 percent, and violent crime is down almost 6 percent. Overall crime in the city is down almost 50 percent since 2006.

“We have many fewer crimes now than we did just five years ago,” Dotson said Wednesday. With one noticeable exception.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated on April 29th to clarify that the data released by the circuit court dealt only with the speed of getting gun possession cases to final disposition.

St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson says a big uptick in homicides in 2014 is "concerning and alarming."

The chief spoke to the Board of Aldermen's public safety committee on Thursday to discuss the latest crime statistics. There have been 44 murders since the beginning of the year. That compares to 30 people by this time in 2013. 

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Legislature is considering a proposal to provide state funds for neighborhood watch programs in high crime areas around the state.

Rep. Michael Butler, D-St. Louis, sponsored the bill, which would create a state fund to match money for neighborhood watch programs in high crime areas around the state.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

It’s been my experience that people are normally murdered for one of two reasons: money or sex. When I share that observation, somebody will invariably suggest that I add narcotics to my short list of prime motives for slaughter. That idea seems reasonable at first but upon further review, it turns out to be redundant.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Let’s begin by acknowledging that the words “legal” and “wise” are not synonyms. It would be legal, for instance, to install aluminum siding on my brick home but that would probably not be a wise course of action. Just because there is no legal barrier to doing something, it does not necessarily follow that it’s a good idea to do so.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Crime in the parts of St. Louis County covered by the county’s police department dropped 7.4 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to numbers released by the department today.

This is the fifth straight year for a decrease - something St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch called a "great accomplishment."  The latest figures bring the total level of crime to its lowest point since 1969.

(via Wikimedia Commons/J. Pelkonen)

Check out your neighborhood's crime stats with the interactive map below.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department presented their crime statistics to the city's public safety committee today.  And even though the raw numbers show overall crime was down in 2013 compared to 2012, some aldermen say their residents don't care about the numbers if they don't feel safe.

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham, England
Wikipedia

In America, we celebrate our thugs. They’re entrenched in the popular culture as familiar threads in the social fabric —collectively speaking, an integral part of who we are. After all, who didn’t like Tony Soprano?

Because they exist in the shared imagination as mythical figures, it really doesn’t matter that much whether the thugs are real or fictional. Al Capone and Don Corleone are equally well remembered.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with quotes from Chief Sam Dotson and 2013 neighborhood data.

Despite an increase in the number of homicides, crime was down more than 5 percent overall in the city of St. Louis last year.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released its final numbers for 2013 today. Violent crimes — those committed against individuals— were down by more than 10 percent, while property crimes dropped more than 4 percent.

photo of Barack Obama
Pete Souza | White House | 2010 photo

You can be just or you can be merciful but it’s damned hard to be both simultaneously. Barack Obama may have pulled off that difficult trick when he recently commuted the sentences of eight people serving extended time for crack cocaine violations.

Perhaps moved by the holiday spirit, the president exercised his constitutional authority to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States” and released the federally imprisoned octet in time for its members to be home for Christmas.

Hot-spot Policing To Continue After Redistricting

Dec 4, 2013
(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept.)

After an increase in robberies and burglaries in South St. Louis, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson sent extra forces into three neighborhoods Monday as part of continued hot-spot policing efforts.

"Hot-spot policing is the way we do business," said Dotson. "What it does is takes resources and puts them in neighborhoods that have seen an increase in crime or problems that I'm trying to stem."

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