Despite attracting wide attention to its grim and grinding violence - including President Trump’s denunciations of its “carnage”--Chicago is not the murder capital of America, reported RealClearInvestigations.com.
In fact, it’s not even close.
St. Louis has held that dubious distinction for three years running, reaching nearly 60 murders per 100,000 residents last year – more than double Chicago’s rate despite the latter’s nation-leading raw total of 762, its most killings in 18 years.
Following closely behind St. Louis in per capita murder rates are Baltimore (51.1 per 100,000), New Orleans (45.2), and Detroit (44.6). Chicago, with a rate of 28, was back in eighth place behind Cleveland, Newark, N.J., and Memphis, Tenn.
Even more surprising than the level of carnage in St. Louis is the primary cause. Despite its proximity to riot-scarred Ferguson – where an unarmed black teenager was killed by a police officer in 2014 – authorities say the violence is not mainly due to the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” whereby racially charged police-community tensions reduce cooperation and allow crime to spiral out of control.
Instead, St. Louis Chief of Police Samuel Dotson lays the blame on something farther afield – Mexican drug cartels and the heroin trade. In that way St. Louis is a glaring reflection of the addiction scourge ravaging much of the country, not just big cities like Chicago but rural areas as well. With politicians of all stripes looking for an answer to the epidemic, St. Louis offers insights into its dynamics, official crime reports and statistics suggest.
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