The police can't always protect you, which is why it is the responsibility of every mentally and physically capable adult to provide for his own protection.

A city alderman 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."

Even the best police can't be everywhere. Usually the only people attending a violent crime are the perpetrator and the victim... and the police show up later to draw chalk outlines. You can bet that the perpetrator will be armed.

Police did not immediately return requests for comment. Chief Dan Isom wrote Tuesday in a department blog that citizens arming themselves will lead to more danger, not less, he said.

Neighborhood watch groups, and the hard work of helping to eradicate poverty and other social ills, are better crime-prevention tools, he said. ...

"Much of the problem is free and easy access to guns," Rosenfeld said. "This hope that by putting guns in the right hands will have an influence on criminals is a false hope. There's no evidence for that."

The evidence shows that crime goes down when law-abiding citizens carry weapons.

For the first time, researchers analyzed crime statistics for all 3,054 counties in the United Sates between 1977 and 1992, according to one of the authors of the unpublished study, Professor John Lott. After adjusting for a general fall in crime rates, the study found that:

* In the 31 states that now have "concealed right to carry" laws, murders were down, on average, by 8.5 percent.

* Rapes were down 5 percent and serious assaults by 7 percent.

* In cities with populations of more than 250,000, murder rates dropped after the passage of such laws by an average of 13.5 percent.

Either St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Dan Isom are ignorant of the data, or they're purposefully putting citizens in danger to make their own lives easier.

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