On Monday, the FBI is going to re-release 2006 crime statistics provided by cities across the country including St. Louis. It will be the same numbers we released in January, when we reported that crime had increased last year.
It is worth repeating what we have been doing since then to address the jump.
Chief Joe Mokwa has added more officers to the police department’s Anti-Crime Unit. The chief believes that a large percentage of crime is committed by a relatively small number of criminals. The Anti-Crime Unit targets those criminals.
To prosecute these criminals, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has created a new Career Criminal Unit in her office.
The City has opened another floor in the Downtown Justice Center to keep these criminals in jail and off the streets. We have expanded our Problem Properties Unit to target the places these criminals hide-out and do their business. And we are expanding important programs like Night Watch.
This summer, thanks to the BJC lease and voter approval of a sales tax, we are already working to increase recreation programs and after-school programs for kids. I have also been lobbying Congress to restore funds cut from some federal law enforcement programs that have a proven track record.
Although it is too early to call it a trend, these efforts have shown early results. So far this year, crime is down by approximately 9 percent.
One additional note:
I recently led a conference call with senior federal law enforcement officials and representatives of the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the way the FBI’s annual report on crime is used to mislead people about the safety of American cities, including St. Louis.
The FBI agents on the telephone wholeheartedly agreed with us. They denounced the way Quitno Press repackages FBI data and releases it as a list of “Most Dangerous Cities.”
You can read the FBI’s cautions about interpreting the data it collects here.
This blog gets plenty of media readership. Please click the link before you report your annual “Most Dangerous Cities” story this fall. It will give you some context.