ST. LOUIS, Mo. – What would you do to help the region grow? Many FOX 2 Facebook fans say that fighting crime and creating a thriving downtown should be the focus for area leaders.

The greater St. Louis area is home to nearly three million people and is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. In 2017 the region fell out of the top 20 largest US cities for the first time since 1840. Cities in the Sun Belt are growing at a much faster pace.

The region is still a powerhouse of economic activity in the state. Ten of the state’s 11 fortune 500 companies are located in the area. In 2021 St. Louis ranked first among cities where minority-owned businesses are successful. The area is also home to some of the best schools in the state and nation.

The city’s Midtown area has been St. Louis boosted by billions of dollars of development. Millennials apparently really like the area. There is currently an apartment building boom in the suburbs and urban core. The St. Charles area is also investing several billions of dollars in projects that will redefine the Missouri riverfront.

Unfortunately, the region’s crime rate has tarnished its national reputation. The city of St. Louis keeps ranking among the US cities with the most violent crime.

FOX 2 has nearly a million Facebook fans. Some of them are scattered across the United States. So, you get some interesting responses when you ask them “What’s something the St. Louis area doesn’t have but NEEDS?

A lot of the comments focused on how dangerous many people think St. Louis is. Others focused on changing leadership or investing in the Mississippi riverfront.

Here are some of the top responses Facebook identified as “Most Relevant” after we posed the question on the afternoon of March 23, 2022:

  • “More police who are allowed to do their job and a circuit attorney that does theirs. Leaders who don’t have their own agenda but work for the people and the region” writes Melanie.
  • “Would love to go to many places downtown but it’s too dangerous! Stop the crime so people can enjoy all the things we already have and add much-needed new things to do. Let people want to come to St Louis again to see all we have for them,” writes Sharon.
  • “A much better public transportation system for the entire metro area,” writes Elizabeth.
  • “Vision for the future instead of throwing money at a problem. Create a place that companies want to come to which creates jobs and income instead of handing out free money which creates a whole list of problems,” writes Bill.
  • “A more VIBRANT downtown, especially down along river road near the arch. They could do so much more down there,” writes Karl.
  • “I personally can’t wait for the XFL to come back to St. Louis. We need some Football!” writes Jeff.
  • “Everyone has good ideas, roads fixed, crime down, cleans streets, and WHATABURGER!! St. Louis used to be the place everyone wanted to go. It turned to the place everyone avoids. Time for it to change back for the good,” writes Willy.

St. Louis leaders have developed several programs to help bring down the crime rate. Police also hold daily press conferences on Downtown safety. Some of the efforts are working but there is a perception that the area needs work.