ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – St. Louis City Police said the spike in crime in 2014 can be attributed to the unrest in Ferguson.
Homicide numbers in the city show that there were 74 murders before the Aug. 9th shooting death of Michael Brown. Since that day there have been 43 homicides, four of them this past week.
Overall, crime is up 12 percent in St. Louis City for the months of August and September, compared to the two months before Brown’s death.
“St. Louis is like other cities, Cincinnati specifically. After they had their civil unrest in 2001, they saw an increase in crime immediately after that,” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
In 2001, a Cincinnati police officer shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old. Rioting followed for four days, and crime numbers rose. Dotson said that some feel more empowered at this time to commit crime.
“I think we might have seen [the increase in crime] whether Ferguson was a catalyst or not,” said Geri Brandt, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Maryville University. Brandt is a former St. Louis County police officer and does not agree with Dotson’s comparison to Cincinnati.
“I can’t honestly say there is a strong correlation. Perhaps there is a small bit of a thread that could lead to Ferguson being the catalyst, a very small thread.” She cites Cincinnati, where the riots stopped after four days, but in St. Louis they have continued for more than two months.
To Brandt, the higher crime numbers are due to a combination of pockets of poverty, lack of education and the region's drug problem has led to criminals taking advantage. Despite the surge in crime numbers in August and September, the overall crime numbers for the year are down from last year.