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Survey ranks St. Louis as most dangerous city in nation


St. Louis, MO – A new survey suggests the two cities that were just represented in the World Series are also at the top of a list for most dangerous cities in the country.

St. Louis beat Detroit in baseball last week and this week, now it has beaten the Motor City out again for the distinction of most dangerous city in the country.

That's according to Morgan Quitno Press, an organization that ranks the nation's safest and most dangerous cities every year.

According to FBI figures, violent crime in St. Louis surged nearly 20% from 2004 to last year.

The study, though, only looks at crime within St. Louis City limits, which has a population of about 330,000. It does not account for the surrounded suburbs, where nearly a million people live.

Both St. Louis and Detroit have been in the survey's top ten for the past few years now.

The safest city last year was Brick, N.J. which has about 78,000 residents.

Cities are ranked based on crime rate and how crimes like burglary and rape compare to national averages.

Visiting St. Louis on Thursday, FBI director Robert Mueller said it was too early to tell why some types of crime were rising faster in the Midwest.

Mueller said the FBI is working harder to form partnerships with police departments to launch programs like St. Louis' Safe Streets task force, which focuses police efforts on problematic neighborhoods.

The bad news for St. Louis was good for Camden, N.J., which in 2005 was named the most dangerous city for the second year in a row. Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison said Sunday she was thrilled to learn that her city no longer topped the most-dangerous list.

"You made my day!" said Faison, who has served since 2000. "There's a new hope and a new spirit."

Cities are ranked based on more than just their crime rate, Morgan said. Individual crimes such as rape or burglary are measured separately, compared to national averages and then compiled to give a city its ranking. Crimes are weighted based on their level of danger. The national FBI figures released in June showed the murder rate in St. Louis jumped 16% from 2004 to 2005, compared with 4.8% nationally. The overall violent crime rate increased nearly 20%, compared with 2.5% nationally.

While crime increased in all regions last year, the 5.7% rise in the 12 Midwestern states was at least three times higher than any other region, according to the FBI.