(KMOV.com) - A new research project that examines crime in St. Louis City has found that total enforcement rates have declined over a 16-year period.
The study covered 2002-2017 and looked at age, race and gender. Researchers say the overall picture that emerges is a complicated one.
Not only did total enforcement decline but there was also a decline in race differences when it came to enforcement.
In 2002, for every arrest or summons for someone who was white, there were five against someone who was black. That ratio declined to 2-1 in 2017. Researchers say the decline especially applies to lower level offenses.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden says there has been no directive to officers to back off enforcing any low-level crimes.
“I certainly haven’t said to back off anything but we’re focused on violent crime. We’re labeled as one of the most violent cities so we’ve been focused on violent crime. That’s not to say we’ve ignored some of the low-level crime but absolutely since I’ve become chief, I’ve put a heavy emphasis on violent crime,” Hayden said.
Hayden said he would like to digest the number a bit more, adding he was hesitant to draw any conclusion. He said more conversation is needed to determine what the numbers mean for any policy changes by his department.