Thursday, August 25, 2011

In defense of New Haven

Thanks to the determined efforts of public safety professionals and the entire Yale community, crime on campus in 2010 was the lowest it has been in 20 years. Campus statistics for 2011 show a continued positive trend. Crime throughout New Haven is also much lower than twenty years ago – down 56% from 1990 to 2010. The U.S. Census shows New Haven had the largest population growth of any place over 100,000 in New England in the last decade and reports New Haven has the nation’s second highest apartment occupancy rate, topped only by New York City.

You should be aware that there have been dubious statistical “rankings” circulating about the crime rates in New Haven relative to other cities. One claim this summer received much play in the media, even though it is not a valid comparison.  DataHaven, a community nonprofit dedicated to quality public information, analyzed that “most dangerous” claim and stated: “Contrary to many reports, this is not an FBI ranking and it is not accurate.”
--Yale police chief Ronnell Higgins on New Haven's progress since the bad old days

When comparing places, good researchers define a city not as a municipality, but as the “place” where, by standard methodology, the majority of people live, work and shop. This can be done by neighborhood, by commuting radius, or by employment area, allowing researchers to standardize comparisons. A 2010-2011 ranking of the 350 largest comparable U.S. urban areas by CQ Press, using audited FBI statistics, is one example. Places such as Detroit, Flint, Baltimore and Memphis remain near the top of the list, while New Haven is ranked at 168 on the danger scale, similar to Salt Lake City, Boston, Honolulu, and Eugene, Oregon.
--DataHaven on New Haven's surprising kinship to Salt Lake City, Honolulu, and Eugene