St. Louis Murder Rate on Pace With Last Year; Blacks Disproportionately Impacted

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After trending slightly higher for much of 2011, the St. Louis murder rate last week did something it hasn't done all year: pull into an exact tie with the number of people killed in 2010.

Through October 27, St. Louis police categorized 103 deaths this year as homicides. The number was the exact same on October 27, 2010. That means St. Louis is on pace to have 144 murders in 2011 -- the same as in 2010. Roughly an equal number of victims (143) were killed in 2009 following a particularly blood 2008 when 167 people died at the hands of another in St. Louis. 

So, of the homicides this year, who's getting killed? The police department provides some startling statistics for that.

Of the 103 murders this year, 90 of the victims have been African-American. Ten have been white. Other races fill in the balance. Another way of looking at those numbers: If you're black in St. Louis, you're nine times more likely this year to be murdered than if you're white.*

The most likely person to die on the streets of St. Louis is a black male between the ages of 25-29. Men in this category have accounted for 15 murders this year (or 14 percent of all homicides). Take black men between the ages of 20 and 40 out of the equation entirely, and the murder rate in St. Louis so far this year would plummet by nearly half -- to just 53 homicides.

Perhaps even more disturbing than the statistics involving race, is that St. Louis police have so far cleared (brought a case to the Circuit Attorney's Office) just 43 of this year's murder. And, not surprisingly perhaps, 89 of the murders this year (86 percent) involved a gun.

Here's the spreadsheet of the homicides though October 27 as provided by the St. Louis police department. Crunch your own numbers.

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*Blacks account for 49 percent of the city population, according to the latest Census, with whites comprising 43 percent. Yet, even with a slightly larger population, the murder rate for blacks is tremendously disproportional to whites.

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