Murder Rate in 21st Ward Down Eighty Percent from Last Year, Says Alderman French

Categories: Community

Has the 21st Ward set the new standard for north St. Louis?
​In an interview with KSDK this morning, Alderman Antonio French said that gun murders in the 21st ward are on pace to be 80 percent lower than last year's rate.

It's a startling statement for a politician to make in "America's Most Dangerous City." After all, the news hook for the interview was the three shootings involving children that took place around St. Louis between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. last night (none of them occurred in the 21st Ward). But the numbers definitely back up French's claims. Between January and May 2010, there were five murders in the 21st Ward. In that same time period this year, the ward had just one murder.

In contrast, the city as a whole has maintained just about the same murder rate as last year -- 52 murders through May 2010, versus 51 murders through May 2011. French's 21st Ward has seen greatest reduction in murders of any ward in St. Louis.

So what is the neighborhood doing so right?

Well, first off French installed security cameras at certain "hot spots" for crime. He has used his block grant money to renovate whole blocks at a time, rather sprinkling it around to fix up singular properties throughout the ward. And he has focused much of his energy on creating safe public places for his constituents: He spruced up O'Fallon Park and is currently working on "The Sanctuary," a community center scheduled to open later this year.

"We've also been reaching out to neighbors, really engaging them through block units to participate in the community events," he said on KSDK. "And really we're trying to restore a sense of community where neighbors are communicating with each other and looking out for one another."

But it is an uphill battle, he acknowledged.

"We live in an urban community in a rural gun-loving state," he said, "and the laws are set up to put guns out there."

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This guy should be mayor.

Handsome Jimmy
Handsome Jimmy

Jeff Rainford will tell us all that there has never been one single murder or serious crime in the city under Mayor Slay's reign.  And if there ever is a murder or serious crime committed in the city, well, it must be the victim's fault.

Douglas Duckworth
Douglas Duckworth

Good job Antonio. You are should be voted the best alderman of 2011.


Astonishing!  Good for you Alderman French.  Thank you for showing that there is a way to reduce violence without having to change a single gun law...and by 80% no less!

Once again, we see that violence is its own unfortunate phenomenon unconnected entirely from the weapons/items used.  The term “gun-violence” is less a descriptive term and more a political term that comes loaded from the start with language intended to focus attention on an agenda regarding the right to keep and bear arms and away from the real questions about why we have so much violence in this country.  THE REASON WE HAVE SO MUCH VIOLENCE IS NOT BECAUSE OF GUNS.

The debate about whether or not more or less guns, more or less gun laws, or pro vs. anti second amendment is completely irrelevant as soon as the ultimate motivator for the debate (violence) is suddenly reduced.  It’s very simple, the gun is an object.  So is the knife.  So is the fist.  All of these things have nothing at all to do with a solution to a the problem at hand – why are so many American’s so motivated to kill their fellow citizens?  Solve that question and find a solution for it and the issue of whether or not American’s should own guns or not ceases to be relevant philosophically and politically.

Here’s the kicker though: The real question about why we have so much violence and the solution to it is a really hard one.  Maybe one of the reasons we would rather kill each other has a lot to do with our unwillingness to ask and answer that question.

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