By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

St. Louis, home of the iconic Gateway Arch and world-famous St. Louis Cardinals, often ranks as one of the most dangerous U.S. cities on ubiquitous lists that try to make sense of violent crime per capita. The lists have their critics, who argue that the process is flawed and would reach a more accurate – and safe – conclusion if list-makers surveyed the entire metropolitan area.

I live in St. Louis and do care about safety, but I am not afraid and don’t feel surrounded by violence. I refuse to let fear keep me behind locked doors and stop me from interacting with our city’s multi-racial and multi-cultural residents.

It’s easy enough to find crime in any neighborhood and interpret crime statistics in a favorable or scary light. And while city dwellers are not oblivious to suspicious characters and opportunities for crime, and remain alert and cautious, we still engage life in vigorous and productive ways.

Safety in any city neighborhood depends on neighbors knowing neighbors and looking out for one another.  St. Maria De Mattias’ often-quoted phrase about “the dear neighbor” is dear to my heart because I’m surrounded by dear neighbors on whom I can rely and who can depend on me.

Expecting no pay, the two guys on our block who blow leaves into the street week after week for the street sweepers are two dear neighbors who simply say, “We’re all in this together.” That’s a motto for life, anywhere.

  • Do you feel safe where you live? If not, what can you do to create a secure environment?
  • If you do feel safe, thank God for dear neighbors who join you in efforts to stay “in this together.”
  • How do you form bonds of friendship and community with your neighbors and larger community?
  • Do you feel isolated, secluded and separated from others? If so, how can you build bridges of trust to promote a sense of safety and community?