St. Louis is least safe, most crime-costly city in US: Study


Crime may not pay, but it sure costs and if you live in St. Louis, it’s costing you more money than virtually any other resident of any other city in the nation.

According to a new study from MoneyGeek, crime cost each St. Louis resident $9,334 in 2019, more than any other city in America, earning it no. 303 in a ‘Safest City’ rankings of 303 U.S. cities with 100,000 residents.

In addition to St. Louis finishing dead last, Missouri’s largest city, Kansas City, was ranked as the nation’s sixth most crime-costly city in nation by MoneyGeek with crime costing residents there $5,109 each in 2019.

Of Missouri’s three other cities with 100,000-plus residents, Springfield ranked 26th most crime-costly city ($3,238 per capita cost), Independence 105th ($1,665) and Columbia 119th ($1,511) — all near or among the highest 40 percent.

To develop its rankings, MoneyGeek used the FBI’s annual standardized crime statistics report, the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), and broke down crimes by 100,000 people in each city using a matrix created by professors Kathryn McCollister and Michael French of the University of Miami and Hai Fang of the University of Colorado in Denver.

“We then integrated their findings into the broader dataset to better understand the societal cost of crime within individual cities,” MoneyGeek explains.

According to the study, crime cost St. Louis’ 300,000 residents $2.8 billion in 2019, breaking out to $9,334 each.

St. Louis recorded the nation’s second-highest violent crime rate — 1,927.3 for every 100,000 residents — and third-highest property crime rate, 6,183 per 100,000.

In 2019, 194 people were murdered in St. Louis. For years, it has had one of the nation’s highest murder rates, including the highest of any metropolitan area in 2017.

Crime cost Kansas City’s 495,000 residents $2.534 billion in 2019, breaking out to $5,109 each. The city’s violent crime rate was calculated at 1,431.4 and property crime rate at 3,885.9, according to MoneyGeek.

Only Detroit has a higher violent crime rate, at 1.965, than St. Louis and only Oakland, Calif. and Springfield eclipsed St. Louis in property crime rates, the survey shows. Springfield’s 7,792.7 property rate crime registered as the nation’s highest, MoneyGeek reported.

St. Louis’ $9,334 per-capita crime cost significantly outpaced by 14 percent No. 2 Baltimore’s $8,179 per-capita cost.

Following those two cities in the top 10 were: No. 3, Detroit ($7,080); No. 4, Jackson, Miss. ($5,875); No. 5, Memphis, Tenn. ($5,637); No. 6, Kansas City ($5,109); No. 7, Dayton, Ohio ($5,081); No. 8, New Orleans; ($5,073); No. 9, Baton Rouge, La. ($4,604); and Cleveland, Ohio ($4,544).

The safest city, by per capita cost, was Arlington, Va., with a per-capita cost of $132.

Gov. Mike Parson made violent crime in St. Louis and Kansas City central to his successful gubernatorial campaign against Democratic challenger Nikki Galloway’s “liberal agenda.”

A former state representative and senator who served as a Polk County sheriff, Parson called a special session this summer to adopt eight proposed bills designed to address violent crime.

Lawmakers, including Republicans, did not see the urgent need for an emergency session, adopting only two of the governor’s measures, both relatively technical revisions.

Among Parson proposals rejected by lawmakers was a controversial plan to allow the state Attorney General’s Office prosecute St. Louis murder cases rather than local circuit attorneys and a proposal to codify requiring judges to at least consider trying every juvenile accused of felony gun crimes as an adult.

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