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St. Louis ranks 4th on controversial 'dangerous places' list

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis –

A Washington publishing company released its controversial city crime rankings Monday, prompting civic officials to renew their complaints about the list.

This year, CQ Press listed the city of St. Louis as fourth most dangerous, behind Detroit and ahead of Oakland. New Orleans was listed first. Two years ago St. Louis held the title of "the most dangerous place in America."

Every year civic leaders here and in other cities decry the rankings as a publicity stunt. Mayor Francis Slay's campaign director Jeff Rainford said the list is not informative; it's just meant to frighten and provoke.

"When it comes to crime, what really matters is the safety of the neighborhood where you live, where you work, where you shop and if you're a tourist, where you visit," Rainford said. "And these rankings offer absolutely no information that is helpful for what I just talked about."

Doug Goldenberg-Hart with CQ Press said the rankings are based on information from the FBI, which has the most comprehensive collection of crime data available in the United States.

"This is the FBI's [universal crime reports] data," Goldenberg-Hart said. "There's no denial of that. We've never tried to hide that fact. The difference is the FBI is no longer producing a crime index. We are producing a ranking and have been for 15 years."