Thursday, June 25, 2009

Most Dangerous Neighborhood?

Facts? We don't want your stinking facts!

Well sort of.

The Department of Pulling Numbers Out of Our Asses An up until now unknown website known as has published a list of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the country. Much to the chagrin of bloggers, OTR residents, city leaders, newsstations, and, well, pretty much anyone living and/or working here... Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood was number one. I sometimes wonder if we should hang a sign over the Brent Spence Bridge saying "Cincinnati: Worst PR Department in the Country, and Damn Proud!"

To clarify, here is the published methodology: collects data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies in America, and uses a relational database to aggregate the statistics from each agency to the municipality that they protect. This provides an accurate representation of the total crimes and actual crime rates within any given city or town.

NeighborhoodScout then uses proprietary computer models it develops to statistically estimate incidences of both violent and property crimes for every sub-zip code neighborhood in the U.S based on the aggregate crime data for the municipality containing that neighborhood averaged across the most recent three years of non-preliminary (final) data available from the FBI (2005, 2006, and 2007). This moving three-year window helps stabilize data where a single year could be uncharacteristically high or low, providing a more accurate risk assessment. It is important to note that very recent changes in a neighborhood may not be reflected in our findings, as we use non-preliminary data in our models that take a year to be released.
My thoughts:
  1. Who the fuck has ever heard of this organization and why do we suddenly care what they have to say? It's funny, in this world of blogging, I have to wonder about the source. I think it's a fair question. This wasn't a scientific study. It wasn't done by professionals. It sounds like they entered a bunch of date into the computer and said, "Hey look at this!"
  2. I have no numbers to back this claim up -- but who needs numbers? -- but, at the ED, I think we see an even amount of gun shots/stab wounds/etc. coming from Clifton, Avondale, Queen City, and OTR... not substantially more in OTR.
  3. For those of us who have spent time in OTR -- like Queen City Discovery has -- I call bullshit on the "likelihood of being a victim" numbers. I wonder what a lot of the victims were doing that made them victims? Were they innocents walking down the road, or were they involved in something else? Was your chances of becoming a victim (1 in 4, I might point out) change if you are using drugs, prostituting, or drinking? Not that anyone has the right to victimize another.
  4. ...which brings me to my point about Chicago -- whose reputation is not destroyed by their four neighborhoods appearing on the list -- where drive by shootings are so common the newsstations don't even report on them. They are safer there?
In short: the news story is absurd and probably just plain wrong. I have lived, worked, played, and drank in OTR and, outside of one car break in, nothing has happened. Sure, people ask me for money, and a few people offer me drugs or pussy, but truly dangerous? Please. I am proudly one of the 3 out of 4 people who have not been a victim of violent crime... and I would bet that it's probably closer to 99 out of 100 people who have not been a victim.

Oh, and I meant to mention this: there will be anti-violence rally on Washington Park this Saturday. The details, via Impact Cincinnati:
Thanks to Anitra Brockman, Independent candidate for Cincinnati City Council, you will have an opportunity to raise your voice in favor of public safety for everyone. Her slogan is “PRIORITYCincinnati!” and it focuses on her platform: public safety, transportation, economic development and education. In efforts to support public safety and promote a safe city, the Brockman campaign will have a “Stop the Violence” rally this Saturday!

What: “Stop the Violence” rally! There will be a National Anthem performance, several guest speakers, local entertainment and a special memorial to honor the victims of crimes in Cincinnati.

When: Saturday, June 27th from 3-6pm

Where: Washington Park (1230 Elm Street)

RSVP in the events section of the IMPACT Cincinnati group page on facebook!
So, come!


Jere Keys said...

Note that their model includes "property crime" - in other words: burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, break-ins, trespassing, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Oooooh, vandalism... I'm scared... that must mean this neighborhood is dangerous.

Or, severely economically depressed without sufficient social services to combat the effects of desperate, bored and ignored communities. A high rate of uninhabited buildings probably also plays a part.

Jeff Elrod said...

i met my new next door neighbor on main street last night, who mentioned that two of her friends had been mugged around the corner at clay and 13th. that was the first time i'd heard of anything happening to anyone i know or any of my friends. think i'm safe.

Quimbob said...

25 years in OTR working, commuting by car, bicycle & bus. 1 car break in. I didn't even get hassled at the bus stop during "the riots". The hookers & pushers were usually friendly. They probably also constitute the majority of victims.
UrbanCincy cites a disclaimer from the FBI site with the raw data:
"Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction."

Nate Wessel said...

If you want some numbers to back up your feeling, please read this post over at

The methodology as they explain it is wrong. the data they use does not even represent HALF the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

My friend who lives in the 1400 block of Main is afraid to go to Alabama Fish (liberty/race) after dark. He double locks his door after using a key to get thru the hallway and the iron gate at the entrance. He was also assualted/robbed in his apartment on the third floor. I drive my old car when I go to see him because my 2008 received body damage with less than 300 miles on it while parked on Liberty. I'll visit OTR in the daytime but depart at darkness and there's no way that I would live there.