How dangerous is East Saint Louis really

Crime in St. Louis

Hello, I'm new to the forum and ask for your help. I've been doing my master's thesis in downtown St. Louis, MO for 1.5 months.

I was aware that St. Louis has a high crime rate (newspaper articles, etc.). However, I had also read an incredible number of opinions from locals who said that the city is actually really great and not at all dangerous if you live and work in the city center. According to the reports, the crime would only take place in a few specific neighborhoods to the north.

That calmed me down and motivated me to move to St. Louis, because my work and my place of residence are in the city center (rich area, whole foods, etc.). All of my colleagues also live in the city center.

But I was already harassed 2 times while waiting for the bus. I am continuously stared at so intensely by dark-skinned men that I feel very uncomfortable. I am not dressed in any irritating fashion (jacket, jeans, sneakers).

There are also continuous shootings, for example in grocery stores resulting in death all over St. Louis, including in the city center.

I also got to know a German postdoc who has been living here for 10 months. He sees the situation as bad as I do. He knows a lot of people who have been harassed and robbed in the city center not far from our workplace and warned me about it. To defend himself he bought a pepper spray and knife.

I've never been as afraid for myself as I am here. No way! I avoid all sorts of dangerous places and times, but I cannot avoid the bus stop or the walk to the house or supermarket. I can't lock myself in the house!

I see that the residents are very relaxed about the situation in life. When I told my American colleague that the post-doc had got himself a knife and pepper spray, he just laughed and said whether it was necessary.

Because of the enormous crime, I am thinking of canceling my master's thesis and starting over somewhere in Europe.

I would like to see your point of view. Is that standard in America or just St. Louis? Friends who lived in Boston and Columbia had never seen anything like this.

Thanks in advance!