Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Figures don't lie

Forbes Magazine rated Lincoln this week as the 15th best place for business and careers in the United States. Our City Planning Director, Marvin Krout, dug a little deeper into the data, and emailed me to ask why our CRIME RATE was dragging our overall ranking down. He had discovered that our crime rate was supposedly higher than any of the cities above us, including places like Raleigh, NC, Spokane, WA, Des Moines, IA, Winston-Salem NC, Atlanta, GA, and Richmond, VA. Lincoln's crime rates is actually lower than all those cities, but the Forbes report wasn't comparing cities, rather it was comparing Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

I explained an interesting situation to him. Lincoln is one of only three MSAs in the United States where a single large city composes more than 80% of the metropolitan statistical area's population. The other two are in Texas, Lubbock and Laredo. Lincoln is 85% of the population in our metropolitan statistical area. In all the other MSAs above us, even though the largest cities themselves had higher crime rates, they are within areas with large suburban and rural populations--areas which almost always have very low crime. We simply don't have the large rural and suburban population in which to dilute the crime numbers that the 74th largest city the United States (Lincoln) generates.

As I explained to Mr. Krout, one of the cities ranked above us is Richmond, VA. Richmond is a little smaller than Lincoln, with a population just under 200,000. Richmond had more murders in 2005 (89) than Lincoln has had in the past 18 year--COMBINED! They more than quintupled our number of robberies and auto thefts in 2005. Ranking Richmond 82nd on crime rate and Lincoln 141st is about as phony as you can get. What was it Mark Twain said about statistics?

Find your own comparative crime data at the FBI's Uniform Crime Report site, the definitive source for crime statistics.


Blogger said...

Hey, does this mean just like the JournalStar people like me can leave a comment?

Anonymous said...


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

foxspit said...

I enjoy the blog Chief Casady! Thanks for taking the time.

So what does the "304" stand for in you URL?

Anonymous said...

304 stands for his employee number and also his email/MDT login. essentially he is the 304th officer since the LPD went to the new system...

Anonymous said...

Very informative. I look forward
to future "Chief's Corner(s)"