When neighborhood crime statistics lie
Don't rely on numbers alone to determine if your new area is safe.
© John Krstenansky/Alamy
Q: I am relocating soon and am considering buying a condo in Alexandria, Va. It seems like a lovely old place.
But when I checked the crime statistics on a few websites, it shows that violent crime is above the statewide average. Now I am uncertain. Should I look elsewhere? (Bing: Find crime stats for your area)
A: On the surface, statistics such as the percentage of population affected by crime seem simple and straightforward. On a state level, they're meaningful because the population and the number of crimes counted are large.
But on a local level, crime statistics can be misleading, particularly when they're presented without any context.
For instance, if a man murders his family and then commits suicide, statistically, a town or neighborhood could look like a hot spot of bloodshed — even if the event was an anomaly and stranger-on-stranger street violence is rare.
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The picture becomes even more muddied when a place has a mix of income levels, housing styles and ages, and commercial uses.
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I'm familiar with Alexandria, and I can vouch for its diversity in all of these measures because it's been a lively port town for centuries. The city has upscale 18th- and 19th-century town houses, faded tract houses, crumbling housing projects, gourmet restaurants, cheap delis, fancy boutiques, featureless warehouses and even a wartime torpedo factory that has become a giant warren of art studios.
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The jumble is part of Alexandria's charm, but that doesn't mean that each of its neighborhoods is equally safe.
So you'll need to get a better sense of what's happening in the neighborhood where you want to live. One relatively new tool that I like is the Local Info section of Trulia.com. The real-estate website has created a crime map for every jurisdiction in the country. It shows violent and nonviolent recent crimes, and you can zoom in to the street level to get a brief description of what happened and when.
Even within the same city, crime rates differ. For instance, in recent months, a number of crimes — including assault, robbery and burglary — have occurred in the historic, expensive enclave of shops and town houses in Alexandria known as Old Town. But few have occurred in the middle-class, suburban neighborhoods near another Alexandria tourist magnet, George Washington's Mount Vernon.
But don't confine yourself to online stat searches. Before you buy, comb through local newspapers for crime reports and stories that point to security or lighting deficiencies in the condo complex you like. These can include a rash of car thefts or purse snatchings. Visit the complex during the day and night. Talk to the neighbors and observe the daily goings-on.
And above all, trust your "spider sense" to pick up subtle clues that your conscious mind may have overlooked. If a place just feels unsafe, heed your instincts and skip it.
Don't believe the hype just like public enemy says.
Who ever believe statistics and polls its a fool.
Get real America. Look around you and see what's going on. In New York City the crime rate has dropped. Do you believe that? In Massapequa the crime rate is non existent. The truth is in New york City if a police officer does not witness the crime or remnants of a crime, it is recorded as an incident. so do not clean up the glass or ransacked home until the cops arrive or your an incident not a victim. A low level crime not recorded on most stats you read about neighborhoods. Response time is so quick? You believe that? they use a code to stop the clock when they are stuck in traffic or too far away and then start the clock when they arrive at the scene.
In Massapequa earlier this year 30 cars were broken into. almost twice a week. The detectives say its an insurance thing and an unsolvable crime. They do not entertain a solution unless it's one of their own or someone with clout. As far as crime stats, review the counties numbers, these low level crimes fall into "other" and they proudly report violent crimes down. Well there were never a high number of violent crimes to begin with and the percentages look big. If you had two crimes last year and one this year, crime went down 50%. nice way to justify one of the highest salaries in the country. The low level crime, breaking into cars and stealing property might only be a few hundred dollars right, but 30 cars by 200.00 = $ 6,000.00 twice a week is $12,000 times four weeks is $48,000.00 worth of damage and this is on the conservative side. But it does not warrant a program to prevent this low level crime because it is an insurance thing and unsolvable. So when you buy your next home don't believe the numbers look for blogs or police blotters posted in the papers and add things up for yourself.
Elberta Alabama is in the midst of a four year crime wave. When Marvin Williams was elected mayor in 2008 the crime rate went through the roof. He basically destroyed the police department, etc. and now it is open season for the crooks against the citizens. And they just try to cover it up. Wont even take fingerprints! there have been more murders in the last four years in Elberta than there were in the entire 100 plus year history of the town prior to this mayor getting elected.
And did I mention he is openly stealing from the town too.........
Visited Fort Myers a few times. Astounding number of drug arrests, crack houses and high speed police chases for such a small place. Anybody know anything about it? Understand police are seizing crack houses near downtown and bulldozing them as quickly as possible to create larger buffer between tourists and drug dealing blacks. Why does Florida have so many people of so many different races living there on drugs? The faces on the crime blotter are amazing. You would never know. The gated communities have officers who patrol and stop suspicious persons daily to keep mayhem out of the nicer neighborhoods but crime seems overwhelming.
There is a DIRECT CORRELATION between the % of the population that is black and the level of senseless violent crime. Typically r-squared values of .8 or higher
a good starting point?
Nationwide BLACKS are 12% of the US population but commit 50% of all murders and 50% of all violent crime in America
If an area has 12% blacks, chances are that there will be a high level of senseless violence and property crime. A suspect black male specialty is robbing a store, the clerk complies 100% and then gets his/her head blown clean off for the fun of it by the poor misunderstood AFRICAN(american)
The increase in violent crime is not direct 1 to 1. For example, if an area is 24% black, it does not mean that blacks commit 100% of the violent crime although it will seem that way
The increase is sort of in a reverse logarithmic patters. Once you get above about 20%, it doesnt matter much whether the portion of blacks is 21% or 40%, the portion of violent crime committed by that minority population will peak out around 75-90%.
A good LIMIT ON BLACK PORTION of the population is in the low single digits. Once you get above 5% expect to see a disproportionate frequency of SUSPECT BLACK MALE crimes
It is particularly unsettling when the crime statistics, much in the same manner as traffic ticket quotas, are carefully tweaked by an unwritten agreement between law enforcement and city officials. Certain zones or sectors will be set aside to permit gang,drug, prostitution, etc. and not be recorded in 'crime statistics' so that both the money making ventures of the drug/gang sector and the affected property values will not adversely affect the other's profit margins, in other words--law enforcement will activity encourage crime in certain sectors and work to prevent crime reporting in those sectors, so that the dual benefits of crime profits and increaing property values will benefit the city coffers ( and local law enforcement ).
Crime statistics are irrelevant, except probably to ascertain the level of corruption in the local city council, low crime rates with drug gangs running the streets and local businesses is a sure give away.
I read the other day something about Jacksonville, FL. They had a budget shortfall this year and they had to cut their entire Community Service Officer Program. However, previous reports indicated that up to 90 regular law enforcement officers (correctional and police) would have to be let go, as well. Then, the Sheriff found over $700,000 hidden away in a trust fund set up revolving around domestic violence...so the only program that was actually cut was the CSO program.
So, is there an incentive to overcharge crimes...to invent details, so misdemeanors can be bumped up to felonies? What is this trust fund? I would expect drug money to be used in a budget crisis, but a domestic violence trust fund? Do you believe that if such a fund really exist that it is acceptable to use that money to fix a budget hole? Are other communities nationwide just as corrupt?
So, do neighborhood crime statistics lie? I believe there is a LOT of lying going on, yes I do.