St. Louis had plenty of company in experiencing a surge of violence last year, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In Detroit, “the federal government is monitoring city finances, the school system is breaking up, the police morale is very low,” said Liqun Cao, an Eastern Michigan University criminologist. “When you put all that together, not surprising that crime would go up.” St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa said assaults continued to climb during the first five months this year. St. Louis has “too many young people who seem to have limited interest in things other than misbehavior and violence,” he said, noting that a host of interventions announced this year were having mixed results.
After steep declines in U.S. crime during the 1990s, followed by five years of unevenly middling results, 2005 marked the first year that reports of crime increased uniformly across U.S. cities, said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. It is too early to determine whether the trend would continue, he said. A shift appeared to be taking place in the second tier of cities – with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 – where violent crimes, particularly murder, jumped more than in either very big or very small cities. “The big story, of course, for 10 years and more has been the big decline in homicide nationally,” said David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “What always used to drive it was decreases in the big cities.” Now what’s fueling the increase is a violent surge in cities like Rochester, N.Y., and High Point, N.C., Kennedy said. That’s “not too promising” for the nation, he said.