Report says St. Pete has a homicide problem
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crime scene homicide
But the city disputes the study's numbers.

Editor’s note: The St. Petersburg Police Department refutes WalletHub’s numbers. “Wallet Hub lists in the 2nd Quarter of  2023 that St. Pete had a per capita homicide rate of 4.65, and uses that number as a base for all the rest of his calculations,” St. Pete Police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said, noting that the city had just four homicides in the second quarter of 2023. At a population of about 258,000 people, that puts the per capita homicide rate at 1.55.

The city of St. Petersburg has one of the worst homicide rate problems in the nation, according to a recent study from WalletHub.

The study, which evaluated 40 of the largest cities in the U.S. based on per capita homicides in the second quarter of 2021, 2022 and 2023, ranked St. Pete seventh-worst in the nation of the cities evaluated. It was ranked the worst city in Florida and came in behind Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Washington, D.C.; Detroit and Richmond, Virginia.

St. Pete’s homicide rate change from the second quarter of 2022 to the second quarter of 2023 was 1.16, the second-worst of cities evaluated. From the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2023 though, homicides actually went down, with a -0.39 change. That ranked St. Pete at No. 22 on the list (the higher the ranking, the better the homicide rate outcome).

That shows that while the city’s data indicates a problem, good news is on the horizon. Its homicide rate in Q2 2023 was 4.65, putting the Sunshine City at No. 15 on the list.

With the 2024 Presidential Election approaching, much of the spotlight is on the GOP Presidential Primary, where candidates are spotlighting their tough-on-crime approaches and Republicans’ superiority over what they describe as Democrats’ soft touch that is causing crime to spike in blue cities.

The WalletHub analysis shows blue cities have a higher increase, on average, in homicide rates than red cities. St. Pete, run by a Democratic Mayor for more than nine years, is among a top 10 populated almost exclusively by Democratic Mayors. Only Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, whose city ranks No. 10 on the list, is a Republican.

Of the 40 cities ranked, 32 are currently run by Democrats (though some cities, such as Colorado Springs and Jacksonville, had Republican Mayors during the times evaluated).

Of the eight Mayors who are not Democrats, two are independents.

But those familiar with these types of data sets will understand that it’s not uncommon to find such a correlation to Democratic Mayors.

WalletHub analyzed cities with high populations, which tend to be Democratic strongholds, even in red states. For example, Memphis ranks at the top of the list, meaning it has the worst crime rate of the cities evaluated. While its Mayor is a Democrat, the state itself is solidly red. Similarly, St. Louis and Kansas City, both in Missouri, have Democratic Mayors in an otherwise ruby red state.

Further, the 2021 National Crime Victimization Survey found that violent crime in urban areas was 121% higher than in rural areas. That begs the question: Does population drive violent crime, or do politics?

Chicago, oft the subject of GOP ire when it comes to law and order conversations, ranked one spot behind St. Pete, at No. 8. But it showed improvements in its homicide rate both from 2022-2023 and 2021-2023.

It wasn’t the only city to show improving rates. St. Louis, ranked No. 2, showed a decline in homicide rates both from 2022 and from 2021. So too did Detroit; Atlanta; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; San Francisco; Nashville, Tennessee; Denver; New York; Tucson, Arizona; Lincoln, Nebraska; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fort Worth, Texas; Jacksonville; Sacramento, California; Philadelphia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Boston; and Austin, Texas.

Other cities — St. Pete; New Orleans; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Las Vegas; Norfolk, Virginia; Dallas; Columbus, Ohio; and Omaha, Nebraska — improved in at least one metric.

That means of the 40 cities, only 11 saw no improvement at all. Of those, three didn’t get any worse. In fact, the study found homicide rates have fallen by about 5% in the 40 evaluated cities from Q2 of 2021 to Q2 of 2023.

Asked how to further reduce violent crime, experts involved in the WalletHub study had mixed responses. Dennis Mares, a professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for Crime Science and Violence Prevention at Southern Illinois University, said smarter gun legislation — not banning specific guns “because that is a political non-starter” — could help.

“At present, there is almost zero accountability for people who purchased a gun legally and resell it to criminals,” he said. “That really is unconscionable and undercuts what the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives) can do to prosecute unscrupulous individuals.”

Gary D. LaFree, a distinguished university professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice and founding director of the START Center at the University of Maryland, said increasing confidence in police and the legal system is key, but the criminal justice system must also “improve arrest clearance rates for violent crimes.”

And Lisa Taylor, an associate professor of instruction and law enforcement technology at Ohio University Lancaster, said law enforcement should be allowed to do its job, but “let’s surgically remove the ‘bad’ cops” because “no ‘good’ cop wants to work with a bad cop.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • PeterH

    July 19, 2023 at 10:49 am

    Homelessness in St Pete is worse than Miami.

    • Anthony Rooke

      July 19, 2023 at 12:28 pm

      Working part-time, I bring domestic nearly 13,000 per month. I was sharp to discover out after hearing a few others portray how much cash they were able to create online. Well, it all came to pass and totally modified my ba-50 life. Presently, everybody has to attempt this work by utilizing this site.




  • Mike

    July 20, 2023 at 10:08 am

    This town is gone downhill ever since Kriesman and chief Holloway.

  • S. Rose smith-Hayes

    July 20, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    I absolutely do Not believe this information. Something is wrong with the calculations.

Comments are closed.


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