Sunday, November 18, 2007

city crime rankings crime in metropolitan america

Detroit Declared Most Dangerous US City
By DAVID N. GOODMAN � 2 hours ago

DETROIT (AP) ― In another blow to the Motor City's tarnished image, Detroit pushed past St. Louis to become the nation's most dangerous city, according to a private research group's controversial analysis, released Sunday, of annual FBI crime statistics.

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 Sept. 24 crime statistics report.

The report looked at 378 cities with at least 75,000 people based on per-capita rates for homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. Each crime category was considered separately and weighted based on its seriousness, CQ Press said.

Last year's crime leader, St. Louis, fell to No. 2. Another Michigan city, Flint, ranked third, followed by Oakland Calif.; Camden, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; North Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Calif.; and Cleveland.

The study ranked Mission Viejo, Calif., as the safest U.S. city, followed by Clarkstown, N.Y.; Brick Township, N.J.; Amherst, N.Y.; and Sugar Land, Texas.

CQ Press spokesman Ben Krasney said details of the weighting system were proprietary. It was compiled by Kathleen O'Leary Morgan and Scott Morgan, whose Morgan Quitno Press published it until its acquisition by CQ Press.

The study assigns a crime score to each city, with zero representing the national average. Detroit got a score of 407, while St. Louis followed at 406. The score for Mission Viejo, in affluent Orange County, was minus 82.

Detroit was pegged the nation's murder capital in the 1980s and has lost nearly 1 million people since 1950, according to the Census Bureau. Downtown sports stadiums and corporate headquarters ― along with the redevelopment of the riverfront of this city of 919,000 ― have slowed but not reversed the decline. Officials have said crime reports don't help.

Detroit Deputy Police Chief James Tate had no immediate comment on the report. But the mayor of 30th-ranked Rochester, N.Y. ― 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.

"They also work against a key goal of our society, which is a better understanding of crime-related issues by both scientists and the public," Tonry said.

Critics also complain that numbers don't tell the whole story because of differences among cities.

"You're not comparing apples and oranges; you're comparing watermelons and grapes," said Rob Casey, who heads the FBI section that puts out the Uniform Crime Report that provides the data for the Quitno report.

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."

Doug Goldenberg-Hart, acquisitions editor at CQ Press, said that the rankings are imperfect, but that the numbers are straightforward. Cities at the top of the list would not be there unless they ranked poorly in all six crime categories, he said.

"The idea that people oppose it, it's kind of blaming the messenger," Goldenberg-Hart said. "It's not coming to terms with the idea that crime is a persistent problem in our society."

The report "helps concerned Americans learn how their communities fare in the fight against crime," CQ Press said in a statement. "The first step in making our cities and states safer is to understand the true magnitude of their crime problems. This will only be achieved through straightforward data that all of us can use and understand."

The study excluded Chicago, Minneapolis, and other Illinois and Minnesota cities because of incomplete data.
4 dead, 6 wounded in weekend crimes in Birmingham area
Associated PressAdvertisement
It was a violent weekend in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area, with four dead and six wounded in separate incidents.

The crimes came as a study was released Sunday, ranking Birmingham as the nation's 6th most dangerous city, based on an analysis of FBI crime statistics.

The study, "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America," was published by Washington-based CQ Press. The authors analyzed FBI crime statistics released Sept. 24.

The weekend violence began at 9 p.m. Friday when a 21-year-old man was shot to death in the Kingston community.

On Saturday, a postal worker found the body of an unidentified man on the front porch of a home in Birmingham's Inglenook neighborhood around 4 p.m. He'd been shot to death.

Thirty minutes later, children playing behind a house in the East Lake area of the city discovered the partially burned body of a man inside a shed. Police said the victim appears to be in his mid-20's to early 30's.

In Brighton, police said a man was shot and wounded after an argument with a friend around 5 p.m. Saturday. The victim went by his friend's house and pointed an assault rifle at him. The friend then retrieved a second assault-type weapon and fired on the victim's car, which crashed into a building.

Just after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Birmingham police responded to a BP gas station in Ensley where three men had been shot while riding in a car just blocks away. The vehicle had more than 10 bullet holes on the driver's side door. The victims were taken to hospitals with what police described as non life-threatening wounds.

Early Sunday, there were two separate shootings at 3 a.m. in Birmingham. Police said a victim was transported to UAB Hospital with non life-threatening wounds after being shot.

At the same time, police were working the scene of a separate homicide nearby. Two people were shot, one fatally. The victims' names have not been released. Many of you have expressed concerns about some of the harsh anonymous comments from readers. To remedy that, we are introducing new features. You can create your own blog, publish your news and share your photos with the community. Once you fill out a simple form and leave a verifiable e-mail address, you can set up your profile page. It will display all of your contributions and allow you to track issues and easily connect with others.
We want our site to be a place where people discuss and debate ideas that foster stronger communities. We built this for you. Please take care of it. Tolerate broad thinking, but take action against obscene or hateful material. Make it a credible and safe place worth preserving and sharing. BROKEN ARROW -- The Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow has been listed as one of America's safest cities in a new study that analyzes FBI crime statistics.

Broken Arrow was listed No. 22 in the study published by Washington-based CQ press titled, "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America." The study looked at cities with at least 75,000 residents and ranked the safest and most dangerous cities.

Mission Viejo, California, was listed as the safest city, followed by Clarkstown, N.Y.; Brick Township, N.J.; Amherst, N.Y.; and Sugar Land, Texas.

According to the study, the most dangerous city in America is Detroit, followed by St. Louis; Flint, Mich.; Oakland, Calif.; and Camden, N.J.

Broken Arrow was the only Oklahoma city on either list. Where is the easiest place in the US to steal a car? Where is the least competition for a young burglar trying to break into the business? Answers to these and other questions can be found in the tables ranking cities with 75,000 or more people for crime in general and specific crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and larceny and theft. Money laundering, poisoning the river, and war profiteering are not listed. The data is for 2003.

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