My letter to the editor in the P-D
I am sick of studies that appear to show that St. Louis is dangerous. It’s not. Another such “study” was reported earlier this month.
A few years ago, I did a ride-along with the St. Louis Police. I was allowed to choose any jurisdiction, any day, any time. I chose north St. Louis from 7 p.m. to midnight on a Saturday. And it was boring. Yes, boring.
Initially, it was exciting to ride in a police car, to watch how the police look at what’s going on in a totally different way than you and I do, to see the computer, to hear other cops talk on the two-way, to meet with other officers along the way for a quick chat. But action? No. Danger? Not that night.
There was a break-in in a building, but no one was there and nothing was taken. There was a stolen car in an alley. No one was there. There was a small marital dispute. Period. And that was Saturday night in north St. Louis, seven to midnight.
I had the same opportunity in Washington, D.C., a few years earlier. I chose the same night, same time, in Anacostia, an area of the nation’s capital that many feel is the most dangerous. There were murders and drug busts and knives and guns and beatings. We raced from one dangerous situation to another all night long, the lights atop the police car blazing. I wasn’t allowed out of the car at times because of danger. There wasn’t one idle moment that night in D.C.
I am a 65-year-old white, privileged woman, and I am in north St. Louis often. I never have felt as if I weren’t safe. I visit Holy Trinity School; I read with my mentee at Confluence Academy; I have coffee at the new coffee house near Crown Candy with Rod Jones, president of Grace Hill; I go to Dunbar Elementary and Vashon High School. I went door-to-door for then for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. There is police presence everywhere and a lot of friendly people who are glad to see you.
People should not believe all those trumped-up reports that have no basis in fact. All kinds of people with no credibility can make statistics say anything they want and send a press release.
Karen Kalish • Clayton