The number of homicides in the City of St. Louis jumped this past month to 13 for October, according the crime statistics posted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Midway through the year, the city was on pace for 98 homicides for 2013. That has crept up to a predicted 112 after 10 months. Last decade the city lost an average of 2,890 residents each year. The feeling, the hope, is that this trend has reversed and the city is growing again, but we won't know for sure until the 2020 Census (prior to the last Census, annual updates estimated the city had grown by several thousand in the 2000's). Decade over decade the rate of population loss has decreased, and if that trend continued, the city was perhaps losing only a few hundred residents per year as the last decade ended. This matters because residents are the denominator when calculating the homicide rate. That rate has fallen significantly since 2008 and is near where it was at the beginning of the last decade. Either way, anything short of a big influx of people would keep the homicide rate effectively flat this year. If residents are still fleeing the city, the homicide rate may be set to increase.
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Alex is the owner and editor of nextSTL.com. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Masters in Public Affairs at Indiana University and has studied in Adelaide, Australia and Perugia, Italy. Alex can be found on Twitter @alexihnen and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org