Crime Stats Are Facts, Not Opinions
My colleague Justin seems to be attempting, in his prior post, to refute hard numbers with personal experiences, which is always a poor idea when making an argument. As for the crime report, I tend to agree with the publisher, in that if Saint Louis city government spent as much time trying to fight crime as it did fighting this report, we would all be better off. From the Post-Dispatch:
But in a tense 90 minutes on the phone, Jenkins would not budge, Fleming said.
"His dismissive conclusion at the end was, ‘Go fight crime.’"
I say this as someone who lived in the city for a long time (1995 to 2002) and moved out for reasons that had nothing to do with crime or safety. I go to the city regularly and always feel safe, except when I am trying to steal crack from drug dealers late at night in dangerous neighborhoods, but heh you’re not supposed to feel safe when you do that.
The numbers are the numbers, and I trust the numbers to be more accurate than Justin’s impressions of Compton, Calif., which I am sure he got entirely from rap albums. As for inconsistencies in how cities collect the numbers, the publishers discounted cities that really do a bad job of collection, like Chicago. Furthermore, I would have more sympathy for the "different data methods" argument if St. Louis City Police had not had its own scandal a few years back with underreporting rapes. If the most compelling argument you can make is that other cities underreport crime, too, you don’t have much of an argument. As long as the stats are comparing St. Louis City to Detroit rather than Wayne County, and to Kansas City rather than Jackson County, as I believe they are, than we are talking apples to apples and the stats are legit, if impolite.