Crime a top priority for mayoral candidates in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ St. Louis is preparing to elect a new mayor for the first time since 2001, and the candidates agree that reducing crime and revitalizing the city’s north side are top priorities.

Voters are going to the polls Tuesday in the primary election. Seven Democrats, including four members of the Board of Aldermen, are seeking to replace Democrat Francis Slay, who is not seeking a fifth term.

Three Republicans are also running, but the Democratic winner will be the overwhelming favorite in the April 4 general election.

FBI statistics for years have ranked St. Louis as among the nation’s most violent cities. Mayoral candidates agree that providing more opportunities and upgrading north St. Louis, where most of the violent crime is occurring, is vital to a turnaround.