Video: Wash U. Students Rap About St. Louis’ High Crime Stats

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Students enrolled in a journalism class at Washington University have taken to rap to explain why St Louis consistently ranks so high in crime statistics.  They released this video on Youtube that tackles a subject that can be hard to wrap your head around.

You see, the city of St. Louis is technically a county.  This happened when the city and county split in March 1877.  The small size and high crime can make the crime statistics jump when you compare it to cities of comparable size like Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

But this does not account for everything.  Charles Jaco reports that 113 people were murdered in St. Louis in 2012.  People in Chicago were horrified that there were 500 murders there last year. Based on just murder statistics you could say that St. Louis is more than twice as dangerous as Chicago.  The rate of  murders per 100,000 people has been among the nation’s highest for over half a century.

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St. Louis is a city, yeah, a city with crime,
But crime is everywhere you go it ain’t hard to find.
So ‘why?’ you ask was St. Louis number two
On Forbes’ dangerous city list? Let me tell you—

As a small little town that sits on the bank,
Of the Mississippi River, St. Louis is ranked
Number 3 for assault and number 5 for robbery,
So bein’ self aware is the way to be.

But as we look at the facts, and no I won’t detract,
That while these ranks are fo real, the city lines are wack.
There’s the county and the city, two municipalities,
But the city IS a county! (What?! That’s crazy!)

Yeah, I know, I’m bein’ fo real—
The perception could be changed if the two could make a deal
Cause what’s bad for the city is bad for the county, foo,
So the Lou gets a spank and a rank of number two.

Let’s keep breakin’ it down—look at geography
There’s 62 miles in St. Louis City.
Add 3,000 more and that’s the county’s score
Which brings me to where I must implore

Forbes to look at methodology-
Are auto-theft and murder the same? (That’s crazy!)
These deceptions if inspected and corrected could change
The perceptions of St. Louis and the real crime rate!

Let’s look at history
Back to the 19th century,
St. Louis City split from the county—
What if the lines were drawn as they were meant to be?

Now we took a good look at geography,
So let’s take a peak at inconsistencies—
There are factors that do matter when we’re lookin’ at crime
Age, for example, and place and time!
Reporting, too, on crime and the like, from city to city by the FBI—
Chicago, Minneapolis and New Orleans,
Weren’t even included on the listed rankings! — graphic

Let’s look at history
Back to the 19th century,
When St. Louis City split from the county—
What if the lines were drawn as they were meant to be?

And I’d like to stress if the CQ press would take one request
At our behest,
If you take crime stats from the Lou as a whole,
We’d be ranked at this number (141), truth be told!

Lyrics by Liz Schranck
(C) 2013 Liz Schranck
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