"You know it's a sign of the times when you start to see crime like this in University City," said Kara Roland, referring to a recent spate of shootings.
One involved a 14-year-old boy who was shot as he stood on his front porch with family and friends in November. He survived. But others haven't been so fortunate, including a 20-year-old man who was found shot to death in his car about two weeks later.
The violence appears to be weighing on City Councilman Byron Price, who at Monday night's City Council meeting said it would be a "dereliction of duty," for him to remain silent on the issue. He and fellow Councilman L. Michael Glickert suggested creating a citizens task force.
"I'm very troubled that it's young people. I'm extremely troubled that it's a black on black situation," Glickert said.
He believes drugs are to blame for the spike in violence.
"I would take a leap of faith and say this is just the insidious nature of what drugs can do to a community," he said.
Roland, 19, a recent University City High graduate, said U City has always been a pretty calm and respectful community. She blamed the uptick on gang activity.
"I feel that they are just trying to prove themselves. Instead of fighting, everyone is just pulling out guns," she said.
U City resident and mother of two, Erica Oliver, told University City Patch she is very concerned about the well-being of her children.
"The issue is with the parents of the children," said Oliver, 29. "Many children walk home alone and the problems they encounter during school, continue as they head home."
Oliver believes more parental involvement and an effective truancy program could help resolve the violence problem.
University City is not included in the recent CQ Review rankings of crime rates around the nation. The list ranked St. Louis as the most dangerous city.
The website Neighborhood Scout, which provides crime statistics for communities around the country, gives University City low ratings for safety. Using data compiled from the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and local law enforcement agencies, Neighborhood Scout gives each city a crime index rating. University City earned a 17 out of 100, meaning the community is safer than just 17 percent of the country.
The site says University City's violent crime rate is lower than the state and national averages, though property crime rates are slightly higher.
Requests for comment from the University City Police Department were not immediately returned.