Associate Professor Lee Slocum presents a report on crime enforcement rates in St. Louis on Thursday in the seventh-floor boardroom at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. (Photos by Steve Walentik)
Total crime enforcement rates in the city of St. Louis have declined steadily over the past 16 years, particularly for misdemeanor, bench warrant and municipal arrests, according to a report released Thursday by researchers from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
There likewise has been a decline in racial disparities in the enforcement rates during the study period. Enforcement actions are still taken at higher rates against African Americans than whites, specifically at a ratio of just over 2-to-1 in 2017, but that ratio has dropped from almost 5-to-1 in 2002, and the declines accelerated in the post-2013 period.
Those are two key takeaways from researchers in the UMSL Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, working collaboratively with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and other city partners. They have spent the past year examining enforcement trends in St. Louis in the period between 2002 and 2017.
The audience in the seventh floor boardroom at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department included St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (front row, third from left) and Police Commissioner John W. Hayden Jr. (front row, fourth from right).
The research has been part of the city’s involvement in the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice, launched by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The network consists of eight sites across the United States conducting research in their local jurisdictions on low-level offenses.
“The research network aims to document and understand the criminal justice system responses to low-level offenses, starting from arrest and going through disposition, so each of the sites is going to be producing a report that’s similar to the one presented here …