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Rising homicide rates in St. Louis trigger rising concerns

"I've never seen it this bad and it's scary," said Third Ward Committeewoman Lucinda Frazier.

ST. LOUIS — From the director of public safety to a concerned, third ward committeewoman to furious citizens, people are fed up with the homicides that seemingly happen daily now in St. Louis.

"Of course, any homicide, any loss of life is distressing," said Dan Isom, the city's director of public safety on Monday.

"I've never seen it this bad and it's scary," said Third-Ward Committeewoman Lucinda Frazier.

"It's terrible. They're shooting these guns out here and they've lost their darn minds," said a longtime, south side resident.

The resident doesn't live far from California Avenue and Osceola where police say a man hopped out of a car on Aug. 15, shot and killed 31-year-old Michael Wiott, jumped back into the four-door, dark colored car and then the driver sped off.

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"Basically, I get out and do what I can do and try to get back home safe," said the resident on Monday.

"When the homicides happen in such a short period of time, it's certainly cause for concern," said Isom.

Concerns are definitely growing and with good reason.

As of Aug. 22, there have been 29 homicides in St. Louis in the month.

Records show about a half-dozen happened on the city's south side.

A majority of the crimes occurred on the north side.

Police say in many cases, the victims and criminals knew each other.

"The criminals are committing these crimes morning, noon and night," Frazier said. "They have no respect for police, community, the elderly, kids, nobody."

Monday night, a 25-year-old man was shot and killed near the intersection of Lee and Obear.

No arrests so far.

It happened in Frazier's third ward.

"I am so sick of this violence," she said. "I don't think it's drug dealers. I don't think it's gang bangers. I think a lot of these crimes are being committed by young people who feel like they're going to be dead at a certain age, so they might as well do what they want. It's unconscionable."

City officials and police say anti-crime programs like Cure Violence have helped curb crime in the past year.

"I think there are a couple of factors why we're seeing this uptick. One, we've had a serious explosion in these stolen Kias and Hyundais which I think offer availability for mobile crimes," Isom said. "We're in the process of expanding our programs in to different areas of the city, so we hope that in the near future will have an impact."

RELATED: Surging Hyundai and Kia thefts causing Club shortage

A move some say can't happen fast enough.

"I just think we need to do more to fight this crime problem," Frazier said. "St. Louis has become a mini-Chicago and I'm sure absolutely the homicides are gonna rise."

So far this year, there have been 129 homicides in the city of St. Louis.

That number is up six percent from 121 at this time last year.

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