ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – There was some good news, but disturbing findings when it comes to gun violence, as St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and Mayor Francis Slay released the 2016 crime stats Tuesday.
The good news is that St. Louis had the lowest year of crime in 10 years, but that was because of a drop in property crimes, such as auto theft and burglary. Violent crimes, like assault and shootings, were up 4.4 percent over last year. The number of homicides—188—matched the total from 2015.
Slay and Dotson said their biggest concern is the number of guns on the streets.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department reported 712 guns were stolen in 2016; 50 percent of them taken from vehicles. Approximately 2,100 guns were seized from criminal suspects.
Dotson said armed suspects have become more aggressive toward officers.
The department is reporting success with its real-time surveillance center and plans to initiate a new program borrowed from the Denver Police Department called “gun crime intelligence center.” The plan is to focus on non-fatal shootings by collecting shell casings and entering them into a database, hoping to stop retaliation shootings.