Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dayton & Suburban Crime: Looking at the FBI Report

Recent exchanges on the Esrati blog comments comparing city vs. suburban crime piques interest as to the question.

Generalizations that the city has just as much crime as the suburbs was challenged via a comparison from Sperlings Best Places, which itself was supposedly derived from the FBI unified crime reports. The FBI report for Ohio (not all cities are shown) for 2007 is here.

So let's go to the source. First off, when surfing into the FBI site there is a big fat warning statement about doing comparisons. A good point is that one police department might be more aggressive than another, and crime does go unreported. Demographs and the nature of the jurisdiction also plays into the picture.

With that in mind lets go ahead an compare anyway. But not Dayton to it's suburbs. Let's do an apples to apples comparison of Dayton to other big cities in Ohio: The three Cs plus Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown.

The way this was done was very simple. Divide the population by number of crimes reported. So higher numbers mean crimes are fewer per person, or rarer and lower numbers means crimes are more common.

As one can see Dayton has a lower number, indicating a higher density of property crimes. In fact it is in worse shape than some larger cities for this crime category.

Next, looking at violent crime, Dayton is more in the middle. Cleveland is the worst in this category.
Suburban Crime

The FBI stats do not show all localities. For example places like Trotwood, Moraine, Clayton, and Springboro are missing from the crime report. But there are enough suburbs shown to provide a glimpse of patterns of property crime (the FBI report breaks this down to some detail, to burglery, larceny, auto theft, etc).

Dayton is thrown in as a benchmark and to prove that it still has a higher property crime density than all the suburban jurisdictions shown. But it is interesting to see Beavercreek not being especially free of this type of crime, ranking in between Englewood and Huber Heights.

The worst suburbs for property crime (by this measure) are Xenia, Riverside, Miamisburg, Fairborn, and West Carollton. The best, or the ones with the lowest density of property crime are Germantown, New Lebanon, Bellbrook, Sugarcreek Township and German Township.

It's nice to see Germantown and German Township on this list as low crime areas as it confirms a hunch yer humble host had about these places as great (and safe) places to live.


David Esrati said...

Jeff- there has been a lot of discussion over how different communities report to the FBI. The numbers, while useful for trending a city (if they don't change their reporting) aren't good for comparing one community to another.
I don't have time to do the digging to find the spat right now- but, please be aware, the "lies, damn lies and statistics" still applies.

Anonymous said...

So your measure of safety derives from property crime stats?

Jefferey said...

Violent crime could be another measure of safety...the FBI has stats on that, too, for suburban areas.

One thing to note is that this is for entire jurisdictions and doesn't say were the hot spots are. There are websites that map this out, but they only have a few citys online (Chicago is one).

Holly said...

It's very safe here in Germantown (and Farmersville). Good schools too!

That said, I have spent a majority of my career working in (and paying taxes to) the City of Dayton--and I have always felt safe.

Waverly Rowan said...

Greatt reading your post