Saturday, April 2, 2022

Tragedy: St. Louis' Murder Rate is Not Rising

 3/31/22 APM:

When the final numbers showed that St. Louis had reduced its murders last year while other big cities were hitting records, city officials said their success was due to smart use of crime data and effective anti-violence programs.

But over the past two years, St. Louis has quietly lowered its murder count in another way: classifying more than three dozen killings as what are termed justifiable homicides, sometimes in apparent violation of FBI guidelines for reporting crimes, a ProPublica/APM Reports investigation found. ...

From 2010 through 2019, St. Louis police classified an average of six killings a year by private citizens as justifiable homicides, meaning incidents in which someone killed another person who was committing a serious criminal offense. Those cases were not counted in the city’s official murder tally.

In 2020, they counted at least 17 that way. In 2021, the number jumped to at least 22. Had just a handful of those justifiable homicides been classified as murders, St. Louis might have set its all-time murder record in 2020 and had its second highest annual total in 27 years in 2021 — changes that might have altered the conversation about the city’s success in reducing violent crime.

The news organizations found that over the two years, detectives sought murder charges in at least five cases labeled as justified. Prosecutors declined to file charges in four of them; in the fifth, prosecutors later charged a suspect with murder, but the case was still counted in police statistics as a justifiable homicide. FBI guidelines say police must count murders based on results from their investigation, regardless of a prosecutor’s action.   

Remember: if murder rates rise, it just proves the need for more gun bans and by gnome underpants logic, "defund the police."  But if justifiable homicides rise, it might make sense to allow law-abiding citizens to be armed. 

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