STL makes list of places France tells citizens to avoid

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – We've all seen the rankings that claim St. Louis is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, but our city has now made another undesirable list.

According to the Washington Post, St. Louis is one of 16 American cities foreign governments warn their citizens about.

The Postsays France warns their citizens traveling to St. Louis: "Eviter le quartier nord entre l'aéroport et le centre-ville, mais la navette reliant l'aéroport est sure," which means to avoid the northern area between Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and downtown, but they assure travelers that the airport shuttle is safe.

Over the summer, St. Louis ranked fourth for crime, according to data published by the FBI, and was among one of the worst cities in the nation for violent crime and property crime.

The report stated aggravated assaults per 100,000 people, along with violent crime, were higher than most other cities in the country, though there were 80 fewer violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012 when compared to 2011.

One reason for the high crime statistics is St. Louis' unique way of recording crime data. The city and county are counted separately. Because there are fewer violent crimes recorded in the county each year, if the two entities were combined, the percentage of violent crimes per 100,000 people would be lower.

Thursday night, NewsChannel 5's Anne Allred spoke with St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson about crime in St. Louis after operators of the Queen of the Mississippi vessel voiced concerns about gunshots heard in the area, and luggage that was stolen from another cruise ship.

The boats operate between May and November each year, and a spokesperson for American Cruise Lines, the parent company that operates the ships, says they want to find a solution to keep their passengers safe before the boat comes back to the area in June 2014.

When asked if the cruise line's concerns are warranted, Chief Dotson said overall crime is down in the city, and he believes his police force is pushing the needle in the right direction.

Despite this news, St. Louis is deemed desirable for retirees, according to Some of the things that make STL great for senior citizens include low public transportation fares, cultural engagement, and food costs.

Other cities that make the list of places the French government warns their citizens about visiting include Boston (due to "petty crime"), Baltimore ("Considered a dangerous city except downtown"), Cleveland ("Avoid Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, and Euclid"), Chicago (avoid the West Side and south of 59th Street), and even Los Angeles ("take care in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Long Beach").

City officials in Cleveland say they're shocked by their placement on the list, and call France's placement of Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, and Euclid "foolish and unjustified." According to WKYC-TV in Cleveland, the French Consulate is looking into why those cities made the list.

If you're concerned about crime in the City of St. Louis, you can visit the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's website. They post crime statistics sorted by neighborhoods, districts, and wards each month. You can view the total number of violent crimes, including murders, rapes, and robberies, as well as larcenies, auto thefts, and arson. There are also downloadable crime files, which provides access to basic information about crimes reported in the area.


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