AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File

Saint Louis Mayor Seemingly Wants to Crack Down on Victims

Saint Louis is a rough place. Because it’s rough, I get why local officials desperately want to do something to reduce violent crime. Unfortunately, far too often that means trying to restrict people’s rights.

In Missouri, though, that’s not happening. 

So when the mayor of Saint Louis sought to network with other black mayors, it’s likely that she was definitely looking at what she could do without the state getting involved. I can respect this, more or less. I don’t like racial segregation–it’s not like there aren’t white mayors dealing with similar challenges, after all–but I get the desire to find a solution at least.

Unfortunately, Mayor Tishaura Jones may have stepped in it hard with her comments.

Mayors and leaders from Jackson, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Durham, St. Louis and more met Wednesday and Thursday to talk about crime and solutions.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones says she’s taking back strategies used in Atlanta for nightclub owners and eyeing ways to reduce crimes around convenience stores.
“We have a lot of violence around convenience stores and gas stations,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. “So how can we hold those business owners accountable and also bring down crime? Some of the things are already doing, we’re finding other mayors are doing as well.”

Now, I get the nightclub argument. There are things nightclub owners can do to mitigate the problems and failure to do so tends to suggest a certain degree of culpability. A lack of security for the club itself and it’s parking lot, coupled with a refusal to do anything about loitering outside of the club, may well lead to problems with violence, for example.

But gas stations and convenience stores are the center for a lot of violence because they’re the targets of a lot of violence

There are a few places that are notoriously targets for armed robbery. Liquor stores, gas stations, and convenience stores are right up there, particularly because they do a lot of cash business and don’t have massive staff on hand.

What’s more, most gas stations and convenience stores aren’t really keen on a lot of people loitering around them, either. One or two people standing there waiting for a ride or something is one thing, but not crowds, especially rough crowds. Those actually deter customers from coming in and spending money.

So I fail to see how convenience stores and gas stations are remotely responsible for being robbed.

Of course, that’s not all the violence that happens as such places, but how many of those occasions are just because the target happened to stop at such a place?

It’s one thing to hold a place responsible for its failures to properly handle security. It’s quite another to outright blame them for stuff that really looked to be beyond the business’ control.

I hope that Jones will clarify her comments in the coming days, because a lot of people are seeing this and trying to figure out how your neighborhood stop-and-rob is actually responsible for being robbed.

I really thought we were done with victim-blaming. It seems that it’s not going anywhere, though.

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