When four more people die violently in St. Louis in the next few days or weeks, the city will top last year's total of 120 homicides in what has become another deadly year, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. From Jan. 1 through Wednesday evening, 117 people had been fatally shot, stabbed, run over, beaten to death and strangled in St. Louis. Homicides here are up 27 percent this year over last.
Police Chief Sam Dotson says overall crime, which showed steady decreases all year, is now creeping upward again. One reason, he says, could be the wave of protests after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9. “I believe there is some segment of the community that feels empowered by what's going on,” Dotson said. Dotson compared the trend to dramatic increases in violent crime in Cincinnati in 2001 when riots broke out there after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teen. “More people are committing crimes (in St. Louis),” Dotson said. “Something is different.”