If you haven't yet heard, St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the U.S., at least according to this report, out today. In the study, the authors say that St. Louis…
"…has long been in the upper tiers of the annual ranking of the nation's safest and most dangerous cities…violent crime surged nearly 20 percent there from 2004 to last year, when the rate of such crimes rose much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to FBI figures released in June."
I'll concur that when someone dies at the hands of another here in St. Louis, it does seem to be reported as particularly violent (though I'm not sure that death at the hands of another could be anything but so). Some of the news reports are disturbing, but since we don't watch the local news all that much, I guess we haven't picked up completely on their apparent frequency.
This may also be part of our not having a complete awareness:
"The study looks at crime only within St. Louis city limits, with a population of about 330,000. It doesn't take into account the suburbs in St. Louis County, which has roughly 980,000 residents."
Being on campus in St. Louis County, we don't exactly live in the rougher parts of town; in fact, we've been told that Creve Coeur is something like the sixth-wealthiest township in the country (even despite our dirt-poor seminary population), so there aren't a lot of drive-bys to contend with or drug deals going down on the corner (though the 'burbs have plenty of other junk going on inside the million dollar houses).
Still, while we go downtown (and know plenty of people who live there), the city as a whole doesn't seem all that bad. But obviously something is wrong (according to the article, St. Louis has been in the top ten of this list for the past ten years), and it reminds us again of Jeremiah's call to pursue good for the city in which we are "exiled" (sometimes seminary can feel that way):
"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)
This is why we're part of an urban (as opposed to suburban) church that has hopes of planting a church downtown in another three years. Indeed, there's much that needs to be done, so you can pray we'll be part of figuring out what and how for as long as we're here in St. Louis.