We're, uh, number one

St. Louisans flush with pride over their baseball team and its world championship have a more dubious distinction to their account today, one that probably doesn't warrant a parade down Market Street. The Gateway City tops the nation in crime, and here, as in baseball, we...uh, beat Detroit:

St. Louis named most dangerous U.S. city

A surge in violence made St. Louis the most dangerous city in the country, leading a trend of violent crimes rising much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to an annual list.

The city has long fared poorly in the rankings of the safest and most dangerous American cities compiled by Morgan Quitno Press. Violent crime surged nearly 20 percent in St. Louis from 2004 to last year, when the rate of such crimes rose most dramatically in the Midwest, according to FBI figures released in June.

"It's just sad the way this city is," resident Sam Dawson said. "On the news you hear killings, someone's been shot."

The ranking, being released Monday, came as the city was still celebrating Friday's World Series victory at the new Busch Stadium. St. Louis has been spending millions of dollars on urban renewal even as the crime rate climbs.

Mayor Francis Slay did not return calls to his office seeking comment Sunday.

You bet your ass Slay didn't return any calls. He was probably too busy cheering Scott Spezio. Look for City Hall and the police department to issue strenuous objections to Morgan Quitno's methodology - the weighting of particular crimes measured, not including St. Louis County in the metro roundup, and so forth. That's been our standard response in the past. But it's an ill wind indeed that doesn't blow somebody some good news:

The bad news for St. Louis was good for Camden, New Jersey, 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."

Camden will doubtless throw its own parade shortly.

(Cross-posted from inside the panic room...)

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