Monday, July 7, 2008
The beat goes on with local violent crime: A 66-year-old Belleville woman was stabbed to death Friday. A 49-year-old man was gunned down at midnight Saturday near Sherman Park on the city's north side. A U.S. Park Service ranger shot and killed a man who drove a vehicle that hit him early Sunday morning near the Arch grounds.
It may be small comfort to note that this is not just a St. Louis problem. It is a disturbing national trend.
In the early years of this decade, law enforcement agencies, including those here, basked in the glow of record reductions in homicides, robberies and aggravated assaults. That started to change in the middle of the decade. Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton called it a "gathering storm," a title adopted for a 2006 report by the Police Executive Research Forum, a leading law enforcement think tank. Its conclusions were bleak: FBI data for 2005 recorded the greatest annual jump in violent crime in 14 years.
The report cited various reasons for the storm: a booming population of younger criminals with no respect for life; a culture of violence fueled by popular culture; a revolving door in the prison and parole system. [Mark Godsey]