Chicago’s sky-high number of murders last year has caught the nation’s attention. But check out some ugly facts about homicides in Kansas City and St. Louis.
For background, President Donald Trump this week sent out another of his senseless, out-of-context tweets, pointing to Chicago’s problems.
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
What does “send in the Feds” mean? As stories on Wednesday pointed out, that could include some positive-sounding things — such as more federal funds to hire police officers — to some radically reckless actions, such as sending mostly white National Guard units into mostly black parts of the Windy City.
However, while Chicago certainly is notorious for its high level of homicides, Trump and the feds also need to pay a lot closer attention to what has been happening in the two largest cities in Missouri.
Here are the facts I gathered today:
— St. Louis had 59.5 murders per 100,000 population (a common measuring stick) in 2016. That’s 188 homicides in a city of 315,685, according to 2015 U.S. Census estimates.
— Chicago had 28.8 murders per 100,000 people, or 783 in a city of 2,720,546.
— Kansas City had 26.7 homicides per 100,000 people, or 127 in a population of 475,378.
When the FBI releases its official numbers later this year, all three cities likely will be in the worst 10 — and possibly worst five — for having the highest homicide rates in America.
If the federal government sometime in the near future really is going to step in to do something to try to hold down murders, Kansas City and St. Louis should be on the list of cities to be helped.
That’s obviously more true if the assistance is thoughtfully put together. In Kansas City, that should include help from people like Mayor Sly James and the Police Department.
Local experts will have a better idea than Washington’s bureaucrats — and Trump — about how to fight crime in the city.