New FBI statistics put St. Louis worst in the nation for major crimes per resident in 2006, but this year is seeing a dramatic turnaround, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Every month so far in 2007 shows a big drop in crime from the same month of the year before. Deputy Police Chief Stephen Pollihan credited a 50-member undercover Crime Suppression Unit, formed this year to fight street crime and target specific repeat offenders. Crime increased 6 percent last year – and that was above the 2005 totals on which the Kansas publisher Morgan Quitno based its widely publicized pick of St. Louis as the nation’s “most dangerous” city.
Crime experts routinely criticize Morgan Quitno methodology, saying it’s meaningless and unfair to compare cities’ crime rates against one another. This year, the FBI joined in the criticism by warning about “simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.” Valid comparisons are possible only with careful study and consideration of unique factors in each city, the warning continued.