ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Crime was down in St. Louis in 2012, according to figures released Wednesday morning by police chief Sam Dotson.
He said the department recorded 27,853 Part I crimes (homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies/thefts, vehicle thefts and arsons) last year, compared to 31,811 in 2011.
That’s a year-to-year decrease of 12.4%.
“The city has made tremendous progress,” Dotson said during Wednesday’s meeting of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. “Crime has gone down in the city at double the national average. We should be proud of that.”
In an effort to drive down the number of aggravated assaults, the police department launched at hot-spot policing effort — specifically a Homicide Deterrence Initiative (HDI) — last summer.
The result, according to Dotson: a 68% reduction in violent crime compared to the same period in 2011.
Those numbers impressed University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, who addressed the police board.
“I’ve rarely seen enforcement initiatives that have generated crime reductions of that magnitude in a relatively short period of time,” Rosenfeld explained.
There were 113 homicides in St. Louis in 2012, the exact same number as the previous year.
Other highlights of Chief Dotson’s 2012 crime report:
* Crimes against persons decreased 4.9%
* Property crimes decreased 14.2%
* Forcible rapes were up by 5.9%, and Dotson explained that figure is likely to go even higher in 2013 “not because of additional crimes but due to better accounting, better understanding and better support to the victims”
* Vehicle thefts increased 3.6% to nearly 3,500 in 2012, but the total for the second half of the year was the second lowest recorded since 1952
* Burglaries decreased 28.9%, larcenies declined by 11.5%, and arsons were up 3.7%
“Our job as police officers is to make crime go down everywhere and allow everyone in our city to be and feel safe,” Dotson said. “That is our department’s mission.”