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« Kick Out the Jams
» Detroit News Roundup for November 2007

Most dangerous city

12.03.07 | technician | In crime, st. louis

CQ Press which acquired Morgan-Quitno and just released their new lists of safest and most dangerous cities in the United States have come under a lot of attack for the bad job they’ve done. This year unlike last year St. Louis beat Detroit by one point which is less than a quarter of 1% difference which would be a statistical draw if the company making the study cared about accuracy. They also fail to mention that cities like Chicago don’t report crime data to the FBI which will of course skew the list. Here’s what others are saying:

Experts say ‘most dangerous city’ rankings twist numbers

The study drew harsh criticism even before it came out. The American Society of Criminology launched a pre-emptive strike Friday, issuing a statement attacking it as “an irresponsible misuse” of crime data.

The 14th annual “City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America” was published by CQ Press, a unit of Congressional Quarterly Inc. It is based on the FBI’s September 24 crime statistics report.

Last year’s crime leader, St. Louis, Missouri, fell to No. 2. Another Michigan city, Flint, ranked third, followed by Oakland, California; Camden, New Jersey; Birmingham, Alabama; North Charleston, South Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Richmond, California; and Cleveland, Ohio.

“It really makes you wonder if the organization is truly concerned with evaluating crime or increasing their profit,” said Bully-Cummings, who noted the complete report is available only by purchase. “With crime experts across the country routinely denouncing the findings, I believe the answer is clear.”

The mayor of 30th-ranked Rochester, New York — an ex-police chief himself — said the study’s authors should consider the harm that the report causes.

“What I take exception to is the use of these statistics and the damage they inflict on a number of these cities,” said Mayor Robert Duffy, chairman of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The rankings “do groundless harm to many communities,” said Michael Tonry, president of the American Society of Criminology.

The FBI posted a statement on its Web site criticizing such use of its statistics.

“These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region,” the FBI said. “Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.”

[via CNN]

The take-home message is that bad crime data produces crime. Is it irresponsible for a corporation to knowingly and indirectly increase crime in a certain area if it increases profit for themselves? If this continues maybe it would be better for cities not to report crime data.

“The Most Dangerous City?” Really?

I noticed that some entity called the American Society of Criminology just named Detroit “the nation’s most dangerous city.” They based their report on recent FBI crime statistics, though the FBI quickly announced that such reports offer only “simplistic and or incomplete analyses.”

I actually live in the heart of downtown Detroit and frankly — no matter what a group like the A.S.C. says– I’m now thinking this is one of the safest, most secure places on earth.

[via Huffington Post]

What’s Really Wrong With the Dangerous Cities List

The FBI says it misuses crime data.

Daily Kos says lists like this are divisive, writing, “Will this 14th Annual list, evoke a flurry of political leaders across America to address the nuts and bolts problems that residents of Cleveland or Detroit may face like cultures of poverty, racial segregation, investment money flight? Or does Detroit’s status as number one, simply serve as further confirmation of long held stereotypes that Detroit has held as America’s poster child of urban danger?”

[via AOL News Newsbloggers]

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