The number of serious felonies in St. Louis and St. Louis County is at its lowest in more than 40 years according to a new report. The types of felonies that have seen the largest decline over the last decade are homicide, arson and vehicle theft. The drop in serious crimes follows a larger national trend.

Crime in the city of St. Louis has dropped almost 6 percent in comparison to last year and the total number of crimes committed last year, 31,811, is the fewest since 1967 when just over 30,000 crimes were committed in the city. Crime in St. Louis County has also dropped in comparison to last year. It dropped 2.4 percent and is the lowest since 1971. Serious crimes saw the largest drop in the area.

For example, the city of St. Louis saw a drop in homicides by 21.5 percent. In 2010 there were 144 homicides reported in the city and last year there were 113. The number was the fewest since 2002. Vehicle thefts and arson were also down in the city. Vehicle thefts fell by over 20 percent, and incidents of arson fell by almost 25 percent. Arson and vehicle theft also fell in the county.

Some types of crime in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County did increase. Incidents of robbery increased in the city as did burglaries. St. Louis County also saw the number of burglaries increase last year. The majority of the burglaries were related to the theft of scrap metal from vacant buildings and homes.

The drop in crime rates for the city and county are credited to new approaches. One new approach the city used is to set high bail for young people accused of gun crimes. The drop in local crime also follows a drop in crime on the national level.

Source: stltoday.com, "Crime at 4-decade low in St. Louis city, county," Jan. 18, 2012