ST. LOUIS (KMOX) New Police Chief Sam Dotson had bad news for the police board, including Mayor Francis Slay, who faces voters in two weeks: crime was up 23 percent in January.
Police board members watched the numbers on a slide show as the Chief tallied the increase: murder up 36 percent, rape up 62 percent, robbery up 57 percent, aggravated assault up nine percent, larceny up 46 percent, and arson up 44 percent.
Dotson was quick to put the numbers in perspective, arguing that crime was so low last January it made this January’s increase seem more dramatic.
“January of 2012 were historic crime lows that we have not seen in many, many years,” Dotson said, “Just to show you the downward trend, we are sloped in a downward trajectory.”
The chief also assured the board that early indications on February 2013 crime show the numbers are coming down. But he’s not taking any chances. Dotson announced plans to increase hot-spot policing and seek corporate donations for a gun buy back program.
Reacting to the news, Mayor Slay stressed the overall lower crime numbers that have accompanied his twelve years in office.
“This is a one month picture,” Slay said, “and because it’s one month, you can’t give too much emphasis. It’s unacceptable if it goes up any bit at all, no matter if it’s one month or the entire year. We need to make sure we pay attention to what’s happening and why it’s happening.”
Slay also told the crowd that the police budget remains his “number one priority,” and that he would like to find the money to get officers raises.