A St. Louis city leader frustrated with the police response to rising crime called Tuesday on residents to arm themselves to protect their lives and property.
Alderman Charles Quincy Troupe said police are ineffective, outnumbered or don't care about the increase in crime in his north St. Louis ward. St. Louis has had 157 homicides in 2008, 33 more than last year at this time.
"The community has to be ready to defend itself, because it's clear the economy is going to get worse, and criminals are getting more bold," Troupe, 72, said Tuesday.
Troupe said that when he and residents approached a district police commander last year, they were told "there was nothing he could do to protect us and the community ... that he didn't have the manpower."
Police did not immediately return requests for comment. Chief Dan Isom told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he understands Troupe's frustration but doesn't support citizens arming themselves.
Carrying guns, he said, is not a "recipe for a less violent community."