|Springfield third most dangerous city in U.S.|
|Written by Douglas Bridges-O'Connor, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Monday, 24 October 2011 15:28|
Forbes magazine released its annual list of “America’s Most Dangerous Cities” on Oct. 3. Detroit, Mich. tops the list at number one, followed by Memphis, Tenn. in second place. The metropolitan area ranked third is a bit closer to home – Springfield, Ill.
According to Forbes contributor John Giuffo, the bi-weekly publication compiled this year’s list of America’s most dangerous cities using the FBI’s 2010 “Uniform Crime Report,” which totaled crime data for each of the America’s metropolitan statistical areas.
Forbes included only MSAs with a population of 200,000 or more and specifically focused on the FBI statistics of four categories of violent crime: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
“The Springfield, Ill., metropolitan area ranks third on our list with 855 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2010 … [and] confounds analysts who try to interpret its relatively high crime rate.
“The unemployment rate was lower than the national average at 7 [percent] as of July so the economy wouldn’t seem to play a major role in crime.
“The area’s relatively young population – 66 [percent] of the city is under the age of 44 – may be a factor, as younger areas generally have higher rates of crime,” Giuffo stated.
College graduates often gravitate toward cities like Springfield because they generally offer more employment opportunities than do suburban areas.
Kyle Hower, who majored in psychology at ISU, relocated to Springfield a few months before his graduation in May.
“I don’t feel like Springfield is dangerous at all. I’ve never felt in danger or in any sort of trouble. If you ask 90 percent of the people living in Springfield if they knew they were living in the third most dangerous city in the country, I think they’d laugh at you,” Hower said.
According to Hower, living in Springfield is no different than living anyplace else, at least as far as safety is concerned.
“It also depends on where you’re at in Springfield. Obviously there are some rough spots, but what city doesn’t have those?” Hower added.
However, the FBI cautions against crime rankings because they simplify and develop implications of crime data.
“The FBI does not recommend the use of crime stats to develop that type of ranking. The numbers that are collected are statistical in nature and to assign the type of ranking that [Forbes] is talking about requires a lot more analysis than can be covered by collecting crime statistics,” Billy Estok, release media representative for the FBI criminal justice information services division, said.
According to Estok, factors affecting crime rates are complex and highly variable.
“Socioeconomic and the transiency of a population are two factors that contribute to crime statistics. Without doing a lot of in-depth analysis, you can’t come to those conclusions. The FBI cautions anyone against doing any ranking based on UCR statistical data,” Estok added.