ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A national study ranked St. Louis as the nation's second most dangerous city in 2008.
The annual rankings from CQ Press are based on FBI-compiled crime data and population figures. Some criminologists said the methodology is unfair.
Jeff Rainford, the Chief of Staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said cities that underreport crime end up looking better when compared to St. Louis.
Rainford said there are six neighborhoods in the city that are dangerous, which leaves about 70 others that aren't.
"The most harm it does is it builds on the prejudices in the suburbs of St. Louis," Rainford said.
Crime is down in St. Louis overall, but property crime -- break-ins and robberies -- are up.
Police Chief Daniel Isom said the department is tired of repeat offenders who are released from custody only to commit more crimes.
"If you have someone who repeatedly engaged in criminal activity, whether robbery or theft, we probably need to give that person some time in jail," he said.
And not every victim is innocent, Isom said, since feuding gangs and drug dealers pad the statistics.
"Oftentimes, the victim and the suspect have much of the same background," Isom said.
Camden, N.J., ranked number one of the list. Oakland, Calif., Detroit and Flint, Mich., rounded out the top five.
O'Fallon, Mo., was ranked as the fourteenth safest city; the safest was Colonie, N.Y.