Orlando’s CQ Press crime ranking as number 18 among 385 U.S. cities may be inflated, says an expert quoted by the Orlando Sentinel. Criminologists have chided the publisher for including auto-theft statistics along with murders in their violent-crime analysis. “You wouldn’t see hardly any criminologists using the data in this book for their own research,” said Jay Corzine, a University of Central Florida professor who teaches criminology and research methods. “It’s not that well-respected.” New Orleans ranked at the top of the list, followed by Camden, N.J., and Detroit. The report looked at cities with at least 75,000 residents, and is based on per-capita rates for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor-vehicle theft. The publication said data for Chicago were not available.
CQ Press, which published the study, contends that the rankings “tell an interesting and an important story regarding crime in the United States” and are meant to help leaders track their cities’ crime trends from one year to the next. Orlando police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said the department does its own crime analysis, which shows the numbers of most violent crimes are down. Corzine notes that this year’s ranking is probably more realistic than last year’s. “We do have a serious violent-crime problem,” he said, but noted that an influx of tourists means there are a lot more potential crime victims. That makes it difficult to compare Orlando’s numbers to cities with more steady populations.”It’s pretty well-known that tourist cities will have artificially inflated crime rates,” he said.