ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - We headed into some of the toughest St. Louis neighborhoods and asked residents about their opinions on whether violent crime in St. Louis is getting better or worse. We received some straight talk from one man who asked not to be identified.
“Ain’t nothing changed,” said the lifelong St. Louis resident. “Everything is still the same.”
He said when it comes to violent crime in certain St. Louis neighborhoods, there’s an opinion that justice needs to be served directly.
“How you think you’d feel if someone killed one of your babies or something? How’d you feel if you see that man out here drinking and smoking and chilling with their friends?” he asked. “You’re going to want to get that person. That’s how we feel. We’re out here protecting ourselves and when somebody do something wrong, we have the right to protect ourselves.”
When I entered a north side barbershop and asked customers whether the city’s trouble with violent crime is getting better or worse, many longtime residents laughed at my question. One customer asked, “Are you part of a comedy show?” He went on to say everyone knows things are worse.
“Right here in St. Louis since 1985 I’ve just watched it decline, decline, decline,” said Karen Hendron.
“You know things are not as safe as they have been,” said Robert Ware, another longtime St. Louis resident.
“People are more scared of crime now than they were when it was actually at its peak in the 80’s and 90’s,” said Lindenwood Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice Dr. Rachael Gossett.
She said public perception and reality are often two different things when it comes to crime statistics. Gossett said a recent uptick in violent crime in St. Louis would lead many to believe the situation is worse today than it was 20 years ago.
“I’m going to say things are a lot better than they were you know 20 to 30 years ago,” said Gossett.
She believes the key to reducing violent crime requires pouring resources into impoverished communities.
“I think the best thing that we can do to alleviate any type of crime is to alleviate poverty,” Gossett said.
The man who asked not be identified does not predict the violent crime problem will be getting any better.
“Ain’t nothing getting no better,” he said. “Because I tell you something happens to me, I’m taking matters into my own hands because the police ain’t going to do nothing.”