Washington University Students Debunk St. Louis Crime Statistics With Rap Song (VIDEO)


Liz Schranck and Vanessa Woods. - VIA YOUTUBE
  • via YouTube
  • Liz Schranck and Vanessa Woods.

Last week, we wrote about yet another national crime ranking that put St. Louis at the top -- which, unsurprisingly, the mayor and the police department were quick to dismiss. Their argument is that the methodology of these rankings is inherently flawed and that these reports make the metro area seem a lot more dangerous than it really is.

Turns out, if they had waited a week, they could've just sent out a locally produced rap video that conveys their pro-St. Louis message a whole lot more colorfully!

That's right, ladies and gentlemen: We officially have the first-ever rap about St. Louis crime stats...and that tricky city-county divide. It's the St. Louis Crime Report.

"Yes, there is crime in the city. There is crime in every city," Liz Schranck, one of the Washington University students behind the video, tells Daily RFT. "But let me break it down for you. Let me break it down for you in a rap."

See also: - The Most St. Louis-Centric Rap Video EVER: Corle 2 Da's "So St. Louis" - Map Confirms Murder Concentration; City Urges a Look on the Bright Side - Dangerous American Neighborhoods: Chief Slams Study With St. Louis at Top

Here's the video, which began making the rounds yesterday after three Wash. U. students posted it as part of an online journalism class project.

Schranck, 23, made the video with Vanessa Woods (the ballerina in the footage) and Madeline Yochum, who filmed it. All three are communications and journalism students at Wash. U., and they made the video for a class taught by Post-Dispatch reporter Jeremy Kohler.

Kohler had the idea that the three do some sort of video about crime in the city, and Schranck thought a rap might be fun.

So they decided to pick apart St. Louis' notorious high ranks in annual crime reports.

  • Courtesy of Liz Schranck
  • Liz Schranck.

"What if we make the rap about the perception of St. Louis as this super dangerous city?" says Schranck, who grew up in the county and is a singer-songwriter who goes by the name Lizzie Weber.

They did research on the data and came up with the goofy video above that relays some of the central arguments of the city and its defenders.

That is that the city of St. Louis is entirely separate from the county and thus gets unfairly compared to other metro areas that do include their suburban counterparts in the final numbers. The rap also mentions that different kinds of crimes aren't properly weighted in the ranks ("Are auto-theft and murder the same?") and that the blanket FBI stats ignore a variety of factors.

Continue for more of our interview and for the full lyrics.

Schranck says she does get frustrated by outsiders' views of St. Louis. "When they come in from out of town, they say, 'Where can we stay where we won't get shot?'"

Vanessa Woods.
  • Vanessa Woods.

And she thought this might be fun way to debunk some of those myths.

"We wanted it to be entertaining. We knew it would be silly," says Schranck, who will be performing the rap on KTVI (Channel 2) today. "There's a little bit of STL pride...in there, too."

Mayor Francis Slay and his staff seemed to like it:

Here are the full lyrics to the rap.

An original rap written by Liz Schranck. (C) 2013 Liz Schranck

Lyrics: St. Louis is a city, yeah, a city with crime, But crime is everywhere you go, it ain't hard to find. So why, you ask, was St. Louis No. 2 On Forbes' dangerous city list? Let me tell you--

As a small little town that sits on the bank, Of the Mississippi River, St. Louis is ranked No. 3 for assault and No. 5 for robbery, So bein' self aware is the way to be.

But as we look at the facts, and no I won't detract, That while these ranks are fo real, the city lines are wack. There's the county and the city, two municipalities, But the city IS a county! (What?! That's crazy!)

Yeah, I know, I'm bein' fo real-- The perception could be changed if the two could make a deal Cause what's bad for the city is bad for the county, foo, So the Lou gets a spank and a rank of No. 2.

Let's keep breakin' it down -- look at geography There's 62 miles in St. Louis city. Add 3,000 more, and that's the county's score, Which brings me to where I must implore

Forbes to look at methodology: Are auto-theft and murder the same? (That's crazy!) These deceptions if inspected and corrected could change The perceptions of St. Louis and the real crime rate!

Let's look at history Back to the 19th century, St. Louis city split from the county What if the lines were drawn as they were meant to be?

Now we took a good look at geography, So let's take a peek at inconsistencies There are factors that do matter when we're lookin' at crime Age, for example, and place and time! Reporting, too, on crime and the like, from city to city by the FBI Chicago, Minneapolis and New Orleans, Weren't even included on the listed rankings!

Let's look at history Back to the 19th century, When St. Louis city split from the county What if the lines were drawn as they were meant to be?

And I'd like to stress if the CQ Press would take one request At our behest, If you take crime stats from the Lou as a whole, We'd be ranked at this number (141), truth be told!

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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