St. Louis police confirmed the city’s 160th homicide this week, a number that surpasses last year’s murder total. A man in his mid-40s was shot several times and found on the street, says St. Louis Public Radio. He later died at a hospital. Investigators have no suspects or motive at this point. That lack of suspects or motives is a common theme in city homicide investigations. Arrests have been made in only about a third of those cases. As of September, St. Louis homicides are up more than 51 percent compared with last year, while total crime was up 10 percent.
Among this year’s murders, 96 percent involved guns, more than half of the victims were ages 20 to 29, and more than 90 percent of victims were black. Police Chief Sam Dotson, who has blamed the increase in violence, in part, on Missouri’s lax gun laws, has announced a task force involving the FBI, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other law enforcement agencies to target crime, Mayor Francis Slay is restarting a Commission Violent Crime to develop new strategies. Others see the problem as a public health issue and are taking unique steps to address it, Anti-violence groups are becoming increasingly active, and faith leaders are engaging in a “ministry of presence” to deter crime.