The Crime Report takes a closer look at a firm’s ranking of a section of St. Louis as the “14th most dangerous” neighborhood in the country and concludes the statistic doesn’t hold water. The area in question, which residents refer to as “14th and MLK, ” was listed as a danger zone last year by a firm called Neighborhood Scout. But it has little crime and is not even a neighborhood, says the website. The 2009 rankings, however –published first on AOL's personal finance site WalletPop–got wide attention across the country. This month, WalletPop published the 2010 “figures” from Neighborhood Scout, which presents itself as a resource for people considering moving to certain areas of a city. St. Louis wasn't even on the list.
But don't expect an explanation. Neighborhood Scout doesn't bother to give one for anyone who might want to compare what happens year to year. Ranked most dangerous this year were West Lake Street in Chicago, Scovill Avenue in Cleveland, Balzar Avenue in Las Vegas, North 28th Street in Las Vegas, and Carter Street in Atlanta. Many news organizations, including CNN, ABC and the Chicago Tribune, have quoted the rankings. Neighborhood Scout, based in Woonsocket, R.I., says its rankings are based upon the “biggest, most in-depth smart search engine for neighborhoods ever built” and employ “exclusive data” from law enforcement. The Crime Report says Neighborhood Scout doesn't measure crime; it predicts it. How? The firm refuses to say, claiming its modeling is proprietary.