The concentration of people, cars and merchandise means that some suburban shopping centers have crime rates that would make many urban neighborhoods blush.
Too often, though, the mall’s unsuspecting customers and employees never hear about these things. Bad news is usually a big secret in the very competitive world of suburban retail.
Cities, on the other hand, are not particularly good about keeping secrets. Even after years of population losses, city living is still a denser experience. And, at least in St. Louis, most of us lack the genetic predisposition to keep our complaints to ourselves.
Making a virtue out of circumstance, the City of St. Louis is very open about its crime rates.
Two separate websites track police service calls and criminal cases. Both sites offer impressive tools to sort data and personalize reports. Chief Joe Mokwa and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce deserve credit for keeping us aware of what is going on around us — and making us smarter and safer. Their honesty also allows us to examine the efficiency with which every part of the criminal justice system — police, prosecutors, and judges — is operating.
The fact is that most City neighborhoods are safer than many suburban malls. Some are not. One very good way of further reducing crime in the City is to put all the facts out on the table.