ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – On Monday, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson released crime statistics for 2013. It was Dotson’s first year as chief, and the first year the police department returned to local control.
The year 2013 was hardly free of crime in St. Louis. On one of the worst days, June 11th, 17 people were shot. But overall, crime was down 5.4% compared to 2012, and down almost 50% since 2006.
Dotson believes their hot spot policing strategy is to thank, at least in part, for this overall drop. He explains, “We’ve focused our resources in the neighborhoods that are having problems and challenges, when they’re having the problems.”
He’s hoping that the department’s redistricting, happening later this month, will help lower crime even further. Those districts are able be redrawn, now that the department regained local control from the state. There will soon be six districts instead of nine.
“This is really reflective of the city as we know it now, with development, population, and where the problems are. So I don’t see any negative, all I see is positive: our ability to focus in the neighborhoods that have challenges,” Dotson explains.
But not all stats were positive: 2013 saw 120 homicides, 7 more than in 2012. The number of rapes increased a whopping 67.3%, but it should be noted that in January 2013, the FBI revised and expanded their definition of rape, increasing the number of offenses.
With 5,078 violent crimes this past year, St. Louis continues to rank as one of the country’s most dangerous cities. Dotson is hoping to change that, and not only through fighting crime: “St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and I have proposed to the FBI, the people who collect the crime stats, that combining the city and county makes sense, and would accurately portray the region. When you look at crime in the region, we go from that top tier to somewhere in the middle of the pack.”
Better crime stats would have far-reaching economic benefits, but while the FBI is considering the chiefs’ request, Dotson is far from slowing down.
He says, “I think every police chief’s hope is that they have zero crime. Hopefully we’ll get there someday, but each year I’m going to challenge our commanders, challenge our department, to get better at a job they’re already good at.”
Dotson adds that he expects the FBI to hold a hearing about combining city and county crime stats sometime within the next year.
Crime statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department:
2013 At a Glance
- Total Part I Crimes decreased 5.4 percent when compared to 2012, from 27,854 to 26,342
- The last year in which fewer crimes were reported was in 1966, when 25,798 crimes were reported
- Violent Crime (Crimes Against Persons) decreased 10.3 percent when compared to 2012, from 5,661 to 5,078
- Property Crimes decreased 4.2 percent when compared to 2012, from 22,193 to 21,264
2013 Reported Crimes Against Persons
- Homicides increased 6.2 percent from 113 to 120 – While there was an increase in homicides this category remains below the five year average of 136.
- Forcible Rapes increased 67.3 percent from 199 to 333
– It should be noted that in January 2013 the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) implemented a revised definition of rape within their UCR program. The
expanded definition allows law enforcement agencies to report more accurate
rape offense data throughout the UCR program to ensure all applicable rape
offenses and all victims of any gender or age are accounted for. As a result of
the revised definition, the FBI expected to see an increase in reported rape
offense data. However, this does not necessarily mean there is an increase in
rapes. See the FBI’s UCR guidelines for further explanation of the revised
definition for rape.
- Robberies decreased 18 percent from 1,778 to 1,458 – This represents the lowest number since 1953 when 1,378 robberies were reported
- Aggravated Assaults decreased 11.3 percent from 3,571 to 3,167 – This represents the lowest number since 1968 when 2613 aggravated assaults were reported
2013 Reported Property Crimes
- Burglaries decreased 13.7 percent from 4,986 to 4,305 – This represents the lowest number since 1950 when there were 3,744 burglaries reported
- Larcenies decreased 0.5 percent from 13,520 to 13,452
- Vehicle Thefts decreased by 4.6 percent from 3,489 to 3,330 – This represents the lowest number since 1952 when 2,789 vehicle thefts reported
- Arsons decreased 10.6 percent from 198 to 177 – This represents the lowest number reported in the arson category since being recognized by UCR as a Part I Crime in 1980