Crime, cops and criminal justice — a preview

Crime, cops and criminal justice — a preview

We Live Here spent the last several weeks ramping up to explore race in St. Louis and, specifically, how systems intersect with people to create a lot of the inequality in our region ... and around the country.

Now, we are moving from the general to the specific. We will spend the next several months exploring the criminal justice system.

We'll start with policing from the cop's perspective and move on to what happens when someone is arrested. We'll explore why getting a public defender is not a given. We'll also take a deep dive into the consequences of pleading guilty to misdemeanors such as trespassing or driving without a license.

It's a complicated web, the criminal justice system. We knew that already, and the more we learn, the more complex it seems. So we thought we'd kick off our criminal justice exploration with a few numbers and facts for you to ponder.

Policing by the numbers

  • Percentage of municipalities in St. Louis County, plus the city of St. Louis, that require police to live in the cities they work: 2
  • Percentage of municipalities in the region that  only require police to live in the region where they work: 15
  • Percentage of municipalities that have no residency requirement: 58
  • Number of officer-involved shootings in St. Louis metro area since August 2014: 19
  • Number of officer-involved shootings that resulted in death: 12
  • The average salary of a police officer working for one of St. Louis' municipal police forces (city and St. Louis County): $48,659
  • Average public defender salary in Missouri (FY 2013): $45,108
  • Percent of police departments state-wide with international accreditation: 17
  • Percent of police departments with state accreditation: 8
  • Percent of police departments with no accreditation: 75
  • Number of cases opened in Missouri courts tried by a public defender (FY 2013): 77,999
  • Number of public defenders across all courts: 376

We Live Here's theme music is composed and performed by Cassie Morgan.

Untangling the public defender system

Untangling the public defender system

St. Louis' coded conversation on race and class

St. Louis' coded conversation on race and class