Letter to the Editor

Higher crime rate in cities with casinos

Sheriff Glenn Boyer obviously wants a casino in Jefferson County regardless of the cost to the people of that county.

An April 19 article quoted Boyer as saying a casino would bring no more crime to a community than a shopping center. That's not what Missouri's most recent Highway Patrol's annual Uniform Crime Report shows.

The report shows that Maryland Heights, St. Louis' most recent recipient of a casino, and a town of about 25,800, had significantly more crime than Florissant and Chesterfield, two towns with almost twice the population of Maryland Heights. Chesterfield's population is 47,000, while Florissant's is listed at 50,000. If Boyer is correct both of these towns, which have rather nice malls, should have more crime that Maryland Heights, because they're bigger. The opposite, however, is true.

Let's look at drunken driving arrests. In 2003, Chesterfield had 191 arrests for DWI, Florissant had only 125. Maryland Heights logged a total of 559 DWI arrests.

Regarding drug related arrests, Chesterfield had 98, Florissant 24 and Maryland Heights 521.

So a casino will not affect the crime rate any more than a shopping mall? Guess again. Perhaps the sheriff simply wants a casino in his community. That's his right, but to say it will not have an impact on crime is totally inaccurate.

Sam Murrell
Executive Director
Casino Watch Inc.