Totals and trends are two things to look at in the annual crime reports. Neither dynamic has much good news for City residents in 2006. There were too many crimes reported in 2006 — and the trend in reports for some violent crimes in the first half of the year was upward.
Chief Joe Mokwa doesn’t make a lot of excuses about that. He notes that bad schools, a sluggish economy, and some practices in other parts of the criminal justice system are among the causes of some sorts of crime. And he notes, correctly, that most City neighborhoods are safe places and that St. Louis’s crime numbers are generally in line with other cities our size. But, the chief knows that, whatever the causes of crime or the City’s relative ranking in the surveys, his department’s most important job is to arrest the bad guys wherever they are.
Thanks to City voters, there will be more police officers out on our streets next year. And the chief has already announced plans to concentrate his forces in the six most dangerous City neighborhoods and against the most dangerous repeat offenders. That should mean fewer bad guys on the streets of fewer neighborhoods next year — and better totals and trends.