Crime rate comparison

Macleans is out with another set of controversial data designed to aggravate people and sell magazines. 

The Codiac Region in New Brunswick (Moncton) ranks 50th out of the 100 most dangerous cities.  Fredericton ranks 34th and Saint John ranks 15th most dangerous city.  Halifax is the 7th most dangerous city.  Saint John is the highest city in the ranking for sexual assualt.

There are serious methodological flaws with this (although if NB cities were the safest I would be bragging wouldn’t I?).  First, this stuff should be done over a five year trend.  Single year in smaller cities could just mean a blip.  Take the murder rate.  If a small city has two murders in a given it shows up like Saskatoon.  It may go 10 years without a single murder.

Secondly, they talk about ‘dangerous cities’ but in reality it is regions (like the Codiac Region) which can include large rural populations.  It is hard to compare one region that is totally urban and one that is half urban and rural given that most serious crime is committed in urban areas. 

Finally you have this whole issue of reporting.  It could be that Saint John has done a really good job of getting young women to report sexual assault whereas in some other cities it goes unreported.  In that case, Saint John looks bad when in reality it should look good.

Who knows?  Bottom line is that for the past 4-5 years Macleans has decided that controversy sells more than just straight news and so we get catastrophe and disaster on a weekly basis.   I still subscribe……

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One Response to Crime rate comparison

  1. mikel says:

    To be fair, they do say ‘annual’, which explains why they don’t have five year ratings. But I’d agree, this is just bad reporting-but really what else does Macleans ever do? And the mainstream media is wondering why their profit margins are going in the tank.

    It’s not just the methodology I’d worry about, as one commentor noted-Oromocto does NOT have a population of 59,000 people. According to the census, there is just over 8,000. So when you consider than they think that a town of 8000 people is one of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country, its really got to make you wonder.

    But statistics like this ARE important to have out there, and if done properly are a useful tool. Does anybody here actually think that St.John does a better job of getting women to report sexual assault? I highly doubt it. It would be nice if somebody with half a brain would do a study like this, because the information is usually readily available. Serious crimes are usually an anomoly anyway, they vary highly by year and have been decreasing for decades. And like David says, is really not ‘cities’ that are the issue-if you live in downtown St. John its like a war zone, but if you live in Quispamsis its quite a different story.

    Most break and enters typically go by neighbourhoods, and the proximity to a larger city can play a part in that. All the cities around Toronto get organized crime that routinely heads out to neighbouring cities to hit neighbourhoods. What would be nice to see is a comprehensive study of violent crime in respective cities-THAT is a measure of how dangerous it is. Somebody broke into my car two years ago, of course its not ‘break and enter’ because my car is usually unlocked. They went through the glove compartment, but completely missed the CD player in the back seat. While I don’t leave electronics in my car anymore, I don’t worry that my neighbourhood is ‘dangerous’, and I usually don’t lock my car at night (my wife does though).

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