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Old Posted Jan 7, 2010, 5:06 AM
Johnny Ryall Johnny Ryall is offline
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Godwin: Crime rankings mislead on Memphis

CQ Press report paints inaccurate, unfair picture, police director says
The Commercial Appeal | By Zack McMillin

When Washington-based CQ Press released its annual list of city crime rankings Monday morning, those who know the most about crime in Memphis did what they do every year -- cried foul. Because while the city of Memphis shows up as No. 10 on CQ Press' crime-rate rankings -- and the eight-county metro area as No. 2 -- it is what the rankings leave out that make many believe they paint an unfair and inaccurate view of the city.

"We report everything, every crime, but they take these numbers from places that don't have to report what we report," said Memphis Police Department director Larry Godwin. "How is that fair? It's not fair that in New York, theft from a motor vehicle is not reported unless it is more than $1,000 but if you got a broken window in Memphis, we report that." Godwin quickly points out that Memphis' crime rate, as of Monday, was down 17.34 percent compared with the same period in 2006.

CQ's reports are based on 2008 crime statistics that cities reported to the FBI for its Uniform Crime Report, and uses six categories -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. The FBI rejects the rankings, saying on its Web site: "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 residents."

University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski, who helps MPD with its data-driven Blue Crush initiative, points to the stance of the American Society of Criminology: "Such rankings are invalid, damaging, and irresponsible."

Last edited by Johnny Ryall; Aug 2, 2016 at 3:51 AM.
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