St. Louis County sees increase in killings so far this year

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(ST. LOUIS, AP) — Data from Missouri’s medical examiner’s office shows that 47 people have been killed in St. Louis County this year, up 11 from the same time period last year.
The office’s report Tuesday also showed that a total number of 66 people were killed in 2015, which was an increase of 78 percent from the previous year, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2aGmMqV ) reports.
Many of the county’s police departments are a part of the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs’ Association, led by Maryland Heights police Chief Bill Carson. Carson said violence has been a topic of discussion at monthly meetings.
Carson said departments are working together to share information to curb violence. He says some police chiefs have called for violent offenders to be punished with stronger sentences.
“It seems like the streets are flooded with weapons that either have been stolen or acquired illegally, in the hands of people that legally should not possess those weapons. Both state and federal prosecutors are trying to take a strong stance on prosecuting violent offenders found in possession of weapons,” Carson said.
The city of St. Louis has 110 killings as of Thursday afternoon, down from 119 at the same time last year. 2015 had a total of 188 killings.
According to St. Louis police Chief Sam Dotson said while city homicides have decreased about 7.5 percent, aggravated assaults with guns are down by about 9 percent.
Dotson said one reason murders are not decreasing as quickly as aggravated assaults is due to an increase in “very targeted attacks” that are meant to kill. According to Dotson, it is not unusual to see upward of 50 shell casings at a homicide scene.
Carson said his fellow police chiefs in St. Louis County are also seizing more guns, and that the chiefs collectively agree that car break-ins are often the root of the problem.
“A lot of people that are legally allowed to carry guns leave guns in cars and it seems like a lot of guns that we’re finding from streets are stolen from law-abiding gun owners,” he said.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com