Jacology: Where Do Murders Occur In St. Louis

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(KPLR) – There's been a lot of talk lately about gun control and proposals to ban assault weapons.  But in Friday's Jacology, Charles Jaco says, that won't solve the violence problem in our cities.

If we're actually worried about gun violence in this country, we should concentrate on the weapons most often used in murders. And we should concentrate on the places where the most murders occur. Despite the soul-sinking evil of it, most gun murders don't occur at schools in rural Connecticut. Most murders do not involve assault rifles.

Most murders involve handguns. And around here, most murders occur in a triangle the shape of a giant slice of pizza. The outer crust is the St. Louis city limits. One side is the Mississippi River. The other is Delmar Boulevard. Not surprisingly...this is also the poorest part of the region. It’s the stretch of turf with the fewest jobs, the highest dropout rate, and highest infant mortality rate. This is North St. Louis.

A new map shows this dramatically. It's produced by NEXT STL, a blog devoted to the city, it’s problems and its promise. The map tracked every murder in the city between 2005 and 2012. And surprise surprise, most occur in poor areas of north city. About half of the city's population lives near a homicide scene. Half does not.

Among the people living near a murder scene or scenes, the average household income is $27,000 a year. Among the half that don’t live near murders, the average household income is almost $41,000 dollars. Neighborhoods near murders are roughly 75 percent African-American. Neighborhoods not near murders are 62 percent white.

Get the picture? Murder and gun violence are huge problems. But they mostly involve handguns. Why not more talk about limiting access to them? And they mostly involve poor African-American neighborhoods. Why not put more attention and resources there?

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.

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