Homicide rate among challenges awaiting next St. Louis mayor

Which candidate St. Louis voters vote in Tuesday’s mayoral election will face daunting tasks, including a population decline and one of the worst homicide rates in the nation

April 6, 2021, 6:24 a.m.

2 min read

Acting Mayor Lyda Krewson announced in November that she would not seek a second term. Krewson, 67, is the city’s first woman mayor.

According to police, 262 people were killed in St. Louis last year – five fewer than the record of 267 in 1993. As the city’s population has declined since 1993, the per capita homicide rate in 2020 was much higher. The pace of murder in 2021 is ahead of last year’s pace.

The city’s criminal justice system could change a lot regardless of who wins.

Jones, 49, a former state official who has been treasurer since 2013, said the criminal justice model of “arrest and detention” has failed. It would bring in more social workers, mental health counselors, and substance abuse counselors instead of adding more uniformed officers.

42-year-old Spencer has been a member of the Board of Aldermen since 2015. She advocates a model of “targeted deterrence” that associates those at risk of violence with self-help activities.

Meanwhile, St. Louis continues to experience an exodus to the suburbs. The city’s population, which peaked at 856,796 in 1950, is now just over 300,000.

Krewson had a personal relationship with violence – her husband was fatally shot while carjacking in 1995. She had pledged to fight the crime, but there was a staggering increase in killings in the city during the coronavirus pandemic.

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