Police Chief Dotson Blames Media For Crime Perception
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The latest study, based on FBI crime statistics ranks St. Louis the fourth most dangerous city in the United States. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, however, says the media, in part, is to blame for the perception that crime in St. Louis is getting worse, not better.
“It’s driven a lot of times…by the coverage that’s portrayed in the media,” Dotson says. “If it’s an incident in the city, it’s on the front page. If it’s an incident in the county, it’s page seven. If it’s in the city it leads on television, if it’s somewhere else it’s further in the newscast.”
Dotson spoke at the monthly police meeting, Wednesday, where he announced overall crime in the city is down 7 percent from this time last year.
“If you go back to 2006, crime in the city of St. Louis, total crime, is 46 percent less than it was in 2006,” he says. “Violent crime, the crimes against persons, is over 40 percent less, property crime is over 40 percent less.”
The study by the Urban Institute used FBI crime statistics to show St. Louis had the fourth-highest rate of aggravated assaults last year and the nation’s fifth-highest murder rate. Dotson says the rankings are unfair because some cities dilute their urban core crime numbers by counting them with their suburban crime totals.
About an hour after Dotson spoke, a drive-by shooting in north St. Louis left one man hospitalized.
St. Louis police are working to keep everyone safe regardless of the numbers. Dotson says the police department has been using crime data for years to create crime maps that may help predict and prevent future trends.
“What we’re going to also try and do is introduce a predictive factor to it,” he says. “that over the summer months these areas become hot, we should focus on those. In the fall this area becomes hot, historically. So, it’s got real-time data and a historical component to try and help us be ahead of curve.”