June 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM ET
Las Vegas might have the nickname “Sin City,” but a new study says St. Louis, Mo. is really the most sinful city in the United States. Yes, St. Louis!
Online brokerage Movoto Real Estate published a top 10 list of what it claims are the most sinful cities. The blog looked at the 100 most populous cities in the country, and its criteria for ranking sinfulness was based on the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, lust, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony and sloth.
Movoto looked for a metric that represented each — the number of strip clubs per capita is a proxy for lust, for instance — and ranked them based on the results.
“When I think of St. Louis, I don’t think of a sinful city,” said David Cross, head editor at Movoto. “It was kind of a surprise.”
St. Louis came in second for wrath (the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents) and envy (instances of theft per 1,000 residents) and tied for third with Orlando, Fla. for sloth (percentage of residents considered inactive by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Las Vegas, where sinful things people do there, stay there, only came in at number 10 on Movoto’s list.
Some of Movoto’s findings confirmed stereotypes. North Las Vegas and Las Vegas were the top two, respectively, in the lust category, while two Southern California cities ranked second and third for pride, which was measured by the number of plastic surgeons per number of residents. Others were surprising: Honolulu had the highest rate of thefts, for instance.
And then there’s St. Louis, which doesn’t exactly have a reputation for freewheeling debauchery. “15 years ago, people complained that ‘they rolled up the sidewalks in St. Louis,’” Maggie Crane, press secretary to St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, said via email. “We’ve come a long way.”
Crane suggested that, like Las Vegas, St. Louis could benefit from a “sinful” reputation. “Of all of the ‘lists’ we make… this one is the most likely to help tourism,” she said.
If you do want to sin in St. Louis, be careful: Someone might be watching. On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals of Eastern Missouri ruled that the city’s red light camera system is constitutional.