Violent Crime Victimization

The rate of violent crime victims reported to police per 1,000 residents

Equity Score
Indicator scores are represented on a scale from 1 to 100.
Disparity Ratio
Disparity direction: black-white
Violent crime victimization rate per 1,000 residents

Black residents are more than 2.5 times as likely as white residents to be a victim of a violent crime.

Source: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; American Communit y Survey 1-year estimates

A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.

For Violent Crime Victimization, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white residents have an equal likelihood of being a victim of a violent crime. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal; we also want to improve outcomes for all. 

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What does this indicator measure?

Violent Crime Victimization measures the rate of violent crime victims reported to police per 1,000 residents. Violent crime is defined as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, all forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping. In 2016, there were 5,616 victims of violent crimes recorded in the City of St. Louis, for a rate of 18 per 1,000 residents. This is likely an underestimate. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics 2016 National Crime Victimization Survey, just 42% of violent crimes are reported to police

Violent Crime Victimization analysis

Violent crime victimization rate per 1,000 residents  in St. Louis City.

  All Black White Disparity Ratio Equity Score
Victims of violent crime 5,616 4,021 1,502 - -
Population 311,404 145,886 144,752 - -
Violent crime victimization rate per 1,000 residents 18.0 27.6 10.4 2.656 to 1 36

Data Source: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, 2016. American Community Survey 1-year PUMS, 2016. 

What does this analysis mean?

While nationally, the U.S. Department of Justice has found violent crime rates do not differ significantly by the victim’s race, in St. Louis, they do. In St. Louis, black individuals are more than 2.5 times more likely than white individuals to be a victim of a violent crime. Black individuals are the most likely to be a victim of a violent crime (27.6 victims per 1,000 residents), followed by white individuals (10.4 victims per 1,000 residents). Asian individuals are the least likely to be a victim of a violent crime (4.7 victims per 1,000 residents). 

If violent crime victimization rates were equitable, black residents would be victims of violent crime 2,504 fewer times in a year.

Data Note: Our definition of violent crime was developed internally by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, using National Incident-Based Reporting System category codes in order to encompass additional measures of violence beyond those reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Forty victims of unknown race were not included in this analysis and Hispanic descent is not recorded. In addition, while an individual can be a victim of violent crime multiple times, each incident is counted separately in this analysis. 

Why does Violent Crime Victimization matter?

Research shows that violent crime victimization has many secondary effects, impacting people’s ability to thrive at work, school, and home. Violent crime causes physical, financial, and emotional trauma to victims and their families. According to the Ferguson Commission report, "traumatic experiences can have a devastating impact on children, affecting their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development." Victimization has a health, financial, and mental cost to individuals and communities. Trends of violent crime in a neighborhood also impact perceptions of the entire neighborhood, which discourages new residents from moving in.

Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?

The Ferguson Commission’s calls to action related to violent crime victimization include:

Questions for further investigation

  • Why is there racial disparity in Violent Crime Victimization? 
  • What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Violent Crime Victimization?
  • What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Violent Crime Victimization?

How can I learn more about this issue?

The St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Collaborative (STLVPC) works to reduce violent crime in the region by promoting a coordinated, well-resourced support system and interventions among area governments, institutions and agencies that serve individuals and families most at risk of violent crime. It is a joint partnership between Washington University in St. Louis and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. In addition, the City of St. Louis' Youth Violence Prevention Partnership is focused on lowering rates of youth violence.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has developed an interactive crime map of "Part I" crimes. Part I offenses include murder and non-negligent homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson. The St. Louis city crime tracker is built using data from the St. Louis Police Department's crime report CSVs.

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