Defense Of Crime Rankings: The Numbers Are The Numbers


CQ Press is defending its rankings of city crime rates based on city reports of data to the FBI. In St. Louis, the murder rate is about 40 per 100,000, eight times the national average. Anyone in St. Louis could use that data to conclude that the murder rate is quite high, the publisher’s spokesman, Ben Krasney, tells the Houston Chronicle. “The cities that are on this list have crime rates per population that are several times the national average,” he said. “So, they have a crime problem. [] The numbers are the numbers.”

Houston Mayor Annise Parker lashed out at the study, which ranks Houston’s crime as ninth-highest for big cities nationwide, placing it on a list with the likes of Detroit and Columbus, Ohio, although Houston has less than half the crimes per capita of those atop the rankings. Violent crime in Houston fell 8 percent in the first half of this year and was on a pace to reach the lowest rate since 2000. Parker charged that the publisher allows different cities to avoid counting certain crimes. New York does not count robberies of property less than $1,000, she said, and Chicago frequently is not included in the list because it does not follow FBI standards. The Houston suburb of Sugar Land was 389th out of 400 cities on the list. “It helps our community,” said public safety official Steve Griffith. “As people are looking for a place to live, they want communities with great schools that are safe.”

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