Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Detroit crime tops nation

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I enjoy numbers. Congressional Quarterly Publications announced, this week, that Detroit is the nation's most dangerous city. Flint placed third. The American Society of Criminology criticized the rankings, but CQ defended the survey saying it was a straight forward interpretation of FBI data. Chicago and Minneapolis were not included in the report due to incomplete data. What kind of list omits two major metropolitan areas? An incomplete one.

From a Free Press article:
“What I take exception to is the use of these statistics and the damage they inflict on a number of these cities,” said Mayor Duffy of Rochester, N.Y.

The damage does not stop at the city limits, though. Detroit is Michigan's city. Michigan's economic viability depends on Detroit's economic viability. Detroit's economy depends on tourism. Think for a moment about Detroit's efforts to become a destination city. Does this new information make it more likely or less likely a person from a lovely suburb will visit the MGM Grand Casino for the weekend? More or less likely a person from Windsor will come over to visit the DIA? More or less likely someone from Brighton will go to a Detroit Symphony concert?

This ranking will reinforce negative attitudes, prejudices and fears about all these cities. Lacking context or explanation, the ranking becomes an excuse to avoid and scorn major cities and cultural centers.

Here are the top 25:
1. Detroit 407.2
2. St. Louis 406.2
3. Flint, Mich. 381.0
4. Oakland, Calif. 338.9
5. Camden, N.J. 323.8
6. Birmingham, Ala. 268.8
7. North Charleston, S.C. 254.3
8. Memphis, Tenn. 245.6
9. Richmond, Calif. 245.1
10. Cleveland 244.4
11. Orlando, Fla. 237.4
12. Baltimore 236.7
13. Little Rock, Ark. 233.8
14. Compton, Calif. 223.6
15. Youngstown, Ohio 222.0
16. Cincinnati 218.3
17. Gary, Ind. 214.0
18. Kansas City, Mo. 203.4
19. Dayton, Ohio 201.5
20. Newark, N.J. 197.3
21. Philadelphia 192.9
22. Atlanta 189.9
23. Jackson, Miss. 188.8
24. Buffalo, N.Y. 187.8
25. Kansas City, Kan. 187.6