Violent crime refers to crimes against persons, including homicide, manslaughter, rape and attempted rape, robbery and assault. (For more information on property crimes, please see Crime & Crime Prevention).  Overall crime rates have improved in the St. Louis region and in metropolitan areas nationwide.  The largest decline in St. Louis’ crime rates occurred between 1990 and 1997; modest declines have occurred since then.  In 1991, the St. Louis region had 6,305 crimes per 100,000 people and ranked 11th among its peer regions.  In 2004, with 4,129 crimes per 100,000, St. Louis’ rank dropped significantly to 23rd.1

Number of Property Crimes and Violent Crimes in the St. Louis Region1

Total Crimes Property Crimes Violent Crimes
1991 6,304 5,367 937
1995 5,922 5,036 886
1997 4,553 3,909 644
2000 4,608 4,028 580
2004 4,129 3,639 490

Homicide

Despite the decrease in crime, rates of homicide remain very high.  St. Louis consistently ranks among the top ten cities in the country in terms of homicide rates per 100,000 population.According to theFBI’s 2009 crime stats, all types of violent crime decreased nationwide, but murder in major metropolitan areas decreased the most – by 7.5 percent.  In the St. Louis region (16-county MSA, population of 2.8 million) there were 14,833 instances of violent crime, including an estimated 233 homicides; 167 of these occurred within the county of St. Louis City.3

Victim Demographics

The victimization of children and youth has devastating psychological, emotional and social consequences.  Within the St. Louis area, certain demographics are more often victims of violent crimes.  “The risk of criminal victimization differs sharply by age, sex, family status, and neighborhood.  These demographic and lifestyle factors not only matter, they matter much more than the metropolitan area in which a person happens to live in determining whether they will become the victim of a crime.  In other words, differences in risk are much greater within than between metropolitan areas.”1

In St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County in 2009, 85.1 percent of homicide victims were male, 81.9 percent were African American, and 41.0 percent were under the age of twenty five.

Prevention

Prevention of violent crime in the St. Louis region includes public education, especially among children, targeted apprehension of known criminals and the reduction of unlawful gun possession and gun violence.  Local law enforcement agencies work to portray themselves as alias to children to increase the child’s resistance to gang pressures and illegal activities.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

St. Louis City was chosen as one of nine US cities to study the implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods and its effects on gun violence.  It aims to reduce gun crimes through a network of local partnerships coordinated through the nation’s 94 US Attorneys’ Offices.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  For more information, see the document Project Safe Neighborhoods: Strategic Interventions.  Eastern District of Missouri: Case Study 7.

1East-West Gateway Council of Governments.  (2006). Where We Stand: They Strategic Assessment of the St. Louis Region.  5th Edition.

2UMSL.  (June 2005). Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI) in St. Louis.

3FBI. (May 24, 2010). Crime Rates Fall According to our Preliminary Stats.