A study released this month ranks cities in Arizona according to safety, based primarily on violent crime statistics. The research was published by Safewise, a home security company headquartered in Utah, which says that it shows, among other things, the 20 safest Arizona cities – as well as some cities that are . . . well . . . not so safe.
How the Rankings were Compiled
The researchers used data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, and includes only cities with a population above the median population for cities in the state. As in the FBI reports, the study includes in the definition of violent crime, the following:
• Aggravated Assault
Property crime rates were used only in the event of a tie in the violent crime rate.
The first thing we need to do is understand that the analysis is only as good as the information fed into the system. When the data is faulty, the results are essentially worthless – in statistical terms, this is commonly known as “garbage in, garbage out.” While we’re on that subject, we reported in our blog last year about serious questions concerning the figures supplied to the FBI by the City of Buckeye, Arizona. In the blog, entitled “Bogus Crime Statistics in Buckeye, AZ,” we noted an ongoing investigation into what appeared to be a systematic attempt to make the city appear safer by leaving out or downgrading certain crimes being reported to the FBI.
That being said, Buckeye came out well in the new study, ranking at no. 2 among the safest cities in Arizona. Number 1 was Oro Valley. Other cities among the top 10 safest were Gilbert, Scottsdale and Surprise. Among the “least safe” cities in the state were Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma.
Probably the most interesting thing that can be gleaned from the report is the fact that economics is not always a major indicator of violent crime. For example, Goodyear (no. 19), with a median annual income of almost $80,000, had twice the violent crime rate per 1,000 residents as San Luis (no. 8), which has a medium income of under $34,000. Moreover, the property crime rate is likewise lower in San Luis than in Goodyear.
We think that studies such as these are generally informative on the topic of crime. On the other hand, statistics can be manipulated, and we hesitate to come to any firm conclusion based on these numbers.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington St #2240
Phoenix, AZ 85004