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St. Louis crime, especially violence, up significantly in 2015

St. Louis crime, especially violence, up significantly in 2015

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ST. LOUIS • Crime in the city has continued to rise through the first quarter of the year compared with last, with some categories — including robbery and some gun crimes — increasing by more than 50 percent.

The city saw an increase in robberies of about 52 percent — about 56 percent of those involving use of a weapon — and a rise in aggravated assaults with a gun of nearly 59 percent, according to statistics the department released this week.

Crimes against persons were up by about 30 percent overall, with homicides up by about 6 percent.

Crime overall, which includes property crimes, is up by about 22 percent, according to the numbers. It continues an upward trend that started in the last half of 2014.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said he was “not happy about the numbers” but insisted they must be viewed in context. Crime has been on a downward trend nationwide since the 1990s, Dotson said.

“Crime since 2006, which was the biggest increase we’ve had in the last 10 years, is down by 40 percent” even with these numbers, he said.

Dotson pledged to continue hot-spot policing, a data-driven strategy that saturates high-crime neighborhoods with added police and other tactics, such as parked patrol cars, to deter crime.

“Everywhere I go, I hear residents and aldermen tell me they want more police in their neighborhoods,” he said, adding that he would be appearing at a kickoff roll call Thursday for a hot-spot initiative in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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