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St. Louis: Violent Crime Down Slightly in City, Even More in County

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The city and county police departments have released their 2009 crime figures, showing that violent crime fell across the region last year.

In the city, crimes against persons dropped slightly by less than one percent in 2009, with one of the biggest percentage drops reported in the overall homicide rate. As reported in Daily RFT last week, the city reported 143 murders in '09 -- a 15 percent decline from the 167 in 2008. The downturn last year ended a five-year increase in homicides.

Meanwhile, violent crime also dropped in St. Louis County last year. According to figures released today by the county police, crimes against persons in unincorporated areas and those suburbs under county police supervision dropped by 12.3 percent. Homicides in those regions were down 13 percent, from 15 murders in '08 to 13 in '09.

So what accounts for the drop in the overall crime rate -- especially given the sour economy in which conventional wisdom says crime generally increases?

St. Louis chief Dan Isom credits his most-violent-offenders programs that targets gang and repeat criminals. In the county, chief Timothy Fitch credits increased more police on the streets.

Perhaps they're right. Then again, no one has ever come up with the definitive reason why crime rates rise and fall

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