List distorts Everett crime statistics

EVERETT — A controversial annual report that ranks U.S. cities based on crime statistics is expected to be released today and Everett again could get pegged as one of the most dangerous places in the country to live.

For the past two years, Everett was listed among the top 20 percent of cities with the most crime, according to the annual report published by CQ Press based in Washington, D.C.

Critics say the list doesn’t distinguish murders from property crimes, is misleading and is deeply flawed.

“Obviously, if they’re going to weigh all those (crimes) as the same, it does give a distorted view of the safety of a city,” Everett city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

This year, the publisher said it will change the terminology of the report but not the methodology, CQ Press spokesman Ben Krasney said.

Instead of calling cities “safest” or “most dangerous,” the list this year simply will be called, “city crime rate rankings,” and will list them accordingly, he said. “Due to concerns from criminologists about perceptions of risk in cities, we’ve changed our nomenclature,” Krasney said.

The ranking is based on total number of crimes drawn from FBI statistics and weighted for population so larger communities can be compared with smaller ones.

No matter what nomenclature or methodology is used to apply the FBI’s data, it doesn’t change the agency’s position, FBI spokesman Stephen G. Fischer Jr. said.

“These rankings lead to simplistic and or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents,” Fischer said in an e-mail interview, quoting a FBI written report.

Reardon said the report doesn’t make sense.

“We’re not necessarily sold on the way they do their methodology,” she said.

The study’s authors attempt to create one scale that summarizes the FBI statistics. They use six of eight data points gathered by the FBI — the total number of reported murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and motor-vehicle thefts — to come up with a community’s ranking.

Last year, Detroit; St. Louis; and Flint, Mich. ranked the three most-dangerous cities, according to the report. Mission Viejo, Calif.; Clarkstown, N.Y.; and Brick Township, N.J., were considered safest.

In that report, Everett placed 66th out of 378 cities nationwide, third-worst in the state. Seattle came in at 113th on the list.

Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said overall crime in the city has gone down in the first nine months of 2008 from same period in 2007.

“We’ll take a look at the report that they send out again, keeping in mind that we don’t agree with their evaluation process,” he said. “The statistics for this year are lower, but that in itself doesn’t give any credence to the way that CQ Press puts together their list.”

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said in his 2009 budget message that keeping residents safe remains one of his top goals. He’s proposed adding two new law enforcement positions and using technology to improve efficiencies within the department.

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Feds drop charges against man accused of mailing explosives

Thanh Cong Phan, of Everett, was deemed mentally incompetent. One package was tracked to Mill Creek.

Everett to consider allowing three more pot shops in city

After months of economic, planning and public safety review, the city council could vote next month.

Dr. Spitters: We’re still in the middle of the pandemic

COVID metrics continue a positive trend, but masks and social distancing are here to stay, officials say.

Monroe school official apologizes for ‘day drinkers’ comment

Jim Langston made the comment in reference to some parents, while frustrated about remote learning.

Proposed Everett budget drops public services, spares police

A pool, an animal farm and more could be paused due to an $18M funding gap under Mayor Cassie Franklin’s plan.

Could Paine Field be the next Sea-Tac? How about Arlington?

A new study predicts demand for air travel in the region to double by 2050. Those planes have to land somewhere.

Mudslide briefly closes Lowell Larimer Road near Snohomish

The slide appeared to have come from a construction site, following heavy rains.

Panel says full-time mayor in Lake Stevens should earn 80K

Salary commission set the figure Thursday. An Oct. 19 hearing gives residents a chance to respond

State asking Boeing what will keep 787 production in Everett

Closing that production line could cost thousands of local jobs.

Most Read