Adam Arenson: The Making of America’s Most Dangerous City





[Adam Arenson is an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the author of "The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War."]

U.S. News and World Report is out with another ranking of America’s most dangerous cities, using analysis from FBI crime data. And, once again, St. Louis has been ranked #1....

Yet at moments like these I am reminded of a maxim favored by of one of St. Louis’s famous residents, Mark Twain: “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”...

In the age of the automobile, and then the racially restrictive housing covenant, the county grew prosperous while the city withered, losing one hundred thousand residents each decade between World War II and the turn of the millennium. Once the fourth-largest city in the nation, St. Louis has slipped to 52nd, with a population about the same today as when my book ends, in 1880....

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