Upstairs Downstairs

13 12 2021

St. Louis City

In spite of the fact that I’m far far away, I still obviously keep an eye on St. Louis news, and sometimes I peek in on St. Louis’s urbanist bloggers like Steve Patterson (Urban Review St. Louis) and Richard Bose (Next STL).

The latter had an interesting question several days back.

Basically, what he’s wondering is how can there be record residential building permit investment in the city when violent crime is as bad as it has been in a long time, with 2020’s murder rate setting a record. What I think he’s insinuating is that the murder rate and violent crime in general must not be actually that bad.

I think it is very possible for both murders/violent crime and building investment to be at record highs in the same place at the same time. I think, in this matter, the numbers aren’t lying.

I have three theories to explain the paradox:

(1) The murders and the investment are happening in very discretely different parts of the city, whose residents hardly ever interact. IOW, upstairs downstairs. Of course, the slight flaw in that theory is that upstairs and downstairs do often interact when it comes to violent and other crimes short of the homicidal sort.

(2) Smart money is betting on the current murder and violent crime spike in St. Louis City (and elsewhere) not to last that much longer and start going back in the other direction, in a regression to the mean sort of sense. As an aside, the murder tally and rate in St. Louis in 2021 is going to be significantly down, delta 2020.

(3) Smart money is betting on the black undertow responsible for violent crime and violent crime spikes in St. Louis City (and elsewhere) not to be in core cities for that much longer, considering AFFH (or whatever is its new name) is back in full swing with * in the White House.


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