Report Names New Orleans Most Crime Infested City
By: Gerri L. Elder
As New Orleans continues to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city has been dealt another blow: The city had the worst crime rate in 2007.
According to the CQ Press “City Crime Rankings,” New Orleans, La. had the highest incidence of serious crime in the nation. During 2007, there were more than 19,000 incidences of six serious crimes, including 209 murders, in the Gulf Coast city of 250,000.
Following New Orleans in the list of the most crime-ridden U.S. cites were Camden, N.J.; Detroit, Mich.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Oakland, Calif.
On the other end of the spectrum is Ramapo, N.Y., a city of 113,000 that is located approximately 40 miles northwest of New York City. CNN reported Ramapo topped the CQ Press list of the cities with the lowest incidence of crime. In 2007, Ramapo reportedly had only 688 crimes and no murders.
Following Ramapo in the list of cities with the least amount of reported crime were Mission Viejo, Calif.; O’Fallon, Mo.; Newton, Mass.; and Brick Township, N. J.
Past editions of the CQ report have come under fire from criminologists and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who say the reports are based on a misreading of federal crime statistics. Additionally, CNN reported that the FBI says ranking cities against each other may produce “simplistic and/or incomplete analyses.” The American Society of Criminology told CNN that the report was an “irresponsible misuse of the data.”
The FBI compiles its own Uniform Crime Report statistics. The CQ Press is said to draw its data from the FBI statistics on murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and car theft for its annual report.
Responding to the criticism, the CQ Press says that in this year’s study, characterizations such as “safest” and “most dangerous” have been dropped. The publisher told CNN that those qualities are perceptions of the people who live in the noted communities. However, the CQ Press maintains comparisons of cities are a valuable tool for researchers and important information for the public.
The CQ Press report allows people to compare local communities to each other, the national level of reported crime and crime rates. Crimes are grouped into violent and property crime categories. Overall crime statistics are also available in the report.
A total of 397 cities larger than 75,000 and 356 metropolitan areas were rated in the report. It was noted in CNN that many of the metropolitan areas ranked very differently from their core cities.
The New Orleans area ranked third in crime on the metropolitan-areas crime list with the Pine Bluff, Ark. and Memphis, Tenn. areas higher in crime.