The homicide rate in St. Louis has increased a shocking 60 percent from last year, and while more murders occur in the city, it’s a problem that is spilling into the county areas as well.
Police have seen 23 homicides in St. Louis County so far this year, up from only 15 the year before, and while it’s significantly less than the city of St. Louis, the rising rates have left many residents feeling uneasy. Additionally, those rates only reflect the county police department and not St. Louis County as a whole, which pushes the homicide rate significantly higher.
Nearly all of the homicides in the county are gang or drug related, according to the St. Louis County Police, and Lt. Colonel Troy Doyle, Commander of County Police Patrol Division, said the suspects – and victims – are getting younger and younger.
“When you are talking about 14-year-olds killed we should be mad,” Doyle said, noting that young black men have a greater chance of getting shot and killed in the inner city than in Afghanistan.
Resident Violet Taylor heard the gunshots Tuesday night that claimed the life of 29-year-old Kevin McCombs, the 23rd homicide in the county this year.
“What is really going on?” Taylor questioned, noting that there is a lot of violence in the area where there wasn’t before.
“We are in a time where people really need to pray,” Taylor added, also saying that she would like to see a greater presence from elected officials.
“I’d like to see city leaders come out, be more visible,” she said. “You see them on the news but you don’t actually see them in your neighborhood until something bad happens.”