Criminologist: City Crime Rankings Don’t Provide Useful Info


Experts say the City Crime Rankings published yearly by CQ Press are not accurate and should not be trusted, says the New Haven (CT) Register. They are based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, which warns that rankings “lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents,” said FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer Jr.

CQ publisher John Jenkins defends the rankings, saying, “Crime-ranking information contains many variables and that all must be considered carefully.” Says criminologist Janet Lauritsen of the University of Missouri St. Louis: “Knowing the city in which a person lives does not provide useful information about the likelihood of becoming the victim of a violent or property crime. Victimization risk is more strongly associated with factors such as a person's age and marital status, their lifestyle activities, such as where they spend their time at night, and the particular neighborhood that they live in within the city. Once these types of factors are taken into account, the city itself makes relatively little difference.”

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