New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proudest boast during his successful mayoral campaign turns out to be wrong, says NYPDConfidential.com columnist Leonard Levitt. His claim that New York is the nation's safest large city – is based on outdated FBI statistics. It was based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2004. That report says crime index Bloomberg used was discontinued in June 2004, for lack of relevance. The report says that in recent years, the so-called crime index “has not been a true indicator of the degree of criminality.”
The old crime index gave equal weight to such non-violent crimes as burglary or larceny as to murder, assault, rape and robbery. The FBI says the non-violent category of larceny – theft – makes up 59.4 per cent of all reported crime and “the sheer volume of those offenses overshadows more serious but less frequently committed offenses” such as rape and murder. A more accurate gauge of safety is purely violent crime, says an FBI official. The total of violent crimes – which includes homicide, assault, non-negligent manslaughter, rape and robbery – shows that New York comes out not first but fourth, which still isn't bad. San Diego, with a population of 1,281,366, is the nation's safest largest city, with 6,774 violent crimes, including 62 murders, giving it a rate of 529 violent crimes per 100,000 people. San Antonio is second and Phoenix third by that measure.