The crime rate in several Illinois counties near St. Louis rose last year while the statewide crime rate dropped, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Crime in Illinois 2007,” the latest statistical report by the state police, is available on the agency’s website (isp.state.il.us). Statewide, according to the report, the crime rate fell by 3.6 percent. Chicago, the state’s largest city, had a 3.5 percent drop. Illinois does not count crimes under the guidelines used in most of the nation, so their statistics are not included in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. The state publishes its own statistics every fall.
East St. Louis reported a 20 percent rise in murders: 30 killings in 2007, up from 25 the year before. So far this year, the murders have dropped. Police Chief Michael Baxton said his department had been sweeping drug houses and taking back street corners. Although the East St. Louis murder number was higher in 2007, it’s nowhere near the levels in the late 1980s. In 1989, East St. Louis reported 63 murders – more than double its total last year.