Six murders over the July 4 weekend into yesterday brought St. Louis’s homicide total to at least 94 this year. That is one murder more than at the same time last year, a year that was the city’s bloodiest in about two decades, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In suburban St. Louis County, 31 people have been killed so far this year. That’s four more murders compared to the same time frame in 2015 , a year that ended with a 78 percent increase over 2014. The trend reflects a nationwide spike in homicides, one that criminologists and police chiefs are trying to wrap their arms around, said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson. Locally, Dotson renewed his call for judges to be tougher on gun crimes and reiterated the need for more officers.
Dotson said the recidivism rate for gun crime arrests is as high as 70 percent. “(Murder is) the most violent and tragic of all crimes, but it impacts the smallest number of people and it’s almost always personal,” he said. “And, of all crimes, it’s the most difficult crime to prevent. And when we do see a precursor, such as crimes involving people carrying guns illegally, we don’t get the outcome in the court, so how do we expect not to see them reoffend time and again?” He said he’s also asking his officers to work overtime to compensate for the 100 or so officers that the department is short.