Saturday, January 3, 2009

Daytons' persistent crime wave

How did the crime rate change over time and is Dayton safer? The police do report a near term decrease in time, but how does that look in the long view. One thing we know is that, nationally, there was a big spike in crime starting in 1965-66 and peaking in the 1970s, where it plateaued until dropping in the 1990s.

So how did this look in Dayton?

We have that old felony map and know that 280 cases went to trial in 1932.

A crime report is available for 1969-1970 (July 1969-July-1970) from a Model Cities study that lists reported crime by type, so one can collect numbers for certain felony crimes for that year. The Dayton PD web page also has crime stats for 2007 where one can collect similar crime report numbers.

Reported crime is not cases going to trial. I’ve read that about 5% of reported crimes go to trial, so applying 5% to reported felonies (in this case total of reported murders, armed robberies, aggregavated assaults, burglaries, rapes, and car thefts) yields numbers for 1969/70 and 2007 that can be very roughly compared with 1932.

But these are raw numbers. How do these compare to city population. Using census data for 1930 and 1970 and the census estimate for 2007 one can see there is a higher crime rate in recent times, based on an estimate of felonies going to trial. This does not count petty crimes like vandalism and so forth.

This comparison is consistent with national statistics showing low crime rates until the mid 1960s, when there was an explosion of street crime, with peaked in the 1970s and remained high until our time, dropping in the 1990s.

Comparing Reported Crime 1969/70

The 2007 and 1969/70 numbers are much more comparable since they are measuring the same thing, reported crime. They are comparable as we can compare the same category of crimes. Taking a closer look it appears for the types of crime being counted the number of crimes being reported have drastically decreased since the 1960s/1970s crime wave.

Yet, during this era Dayton was being depopulated, dropping from 243,601 (1970) to 155,461 (2007 estimate). Today, Dayton had less reported felony crime as there are fewer potential crime victims. Yet the felony report rate went up as though there was a decrease the number of felony reports didn’t drop in proportion to the population. There are less people and fewer crimes, yet Dayton is a slightly higher crime rate place (as measured here) than it was during the 1960/early 1970s crime wave.

Something that is actually fairly suprising given reports of a national decrease in crime during the 1990s and 2000s.

1 comment:

Greg Hunter said...

Great stuff! My suspicion is that most crime is related to economics and the suburbs should show much less crime over the same time frame. Soon Kettering/moraine will show elevated crime as the auto industry tanks. I am still staggered at the population loss!