Low Cost Transit Floods City With Crime

I’ve been sick and tired of these crap statistics that do not have factual correlations being drawn in society.  One of the big fluff stories that has come up time and time again, especially here in Portland, is that light rail brings crime to an area.  The other, more general assertion is that transit brings crime to an area.  Fact is, there is no cause based correlation to be drawn between the two.  Other indicators are what actually ties to crime.

Take for instance the top 100 least safe cities.  I’ve included a list below in case you don’t follow the link.  I’ve scoured each, curious myself, to see if any of these cities has light rail.  Out of these areas the only city that sort of has light rail is Trenton, part of a line.  Strange thing is, all the crime existed before they got the light rail.  It is also 83rd on the list.  Distinctly, one of the cities that is NOT ON THE LIST, is Portland.  Because our crime rate doesn’t even rate on cities with serious crime.  Hopefully it stays that way.

Point being, saying light rail, or transit in general, promotes or provides crime increases to an area is simply not true.  You want to figure out where crime is you have to look at other indicators or you’ll merely be lying to yourself.  For now, enjoy this list of least safe cities, and I’ll be back later with more top city lists and some correlations, with and without causation to discuss what’s up, and what isn’t.  Media be warned, I’m watching your BS – try to keep it straight.

Top 100 Least Safe Cities (www.city-data.com)

  1. Markham, Illinois (2484.9)
  2. East St. Louis, Illinois (2173.9)
  3. Washington Park, Illinois (2132.8)
  4. Hammond, Louisiana (1771.6)
  5. Ocean City, Maryland (1452.9)
  6. Florida City, Florida (1412.3)
  7. Emeryville, California (1344.9)
  8. Lancaster, South Carolina (1338.6)
  9. Wildwood, New Jersey (1315.6)
  10. St. Louis, Missouri (1307.8)
  11. Palatka, Florida (1283.5)
  12. Anniston, Alabama (1282.4)
  13. Atlanta, Georgia (1235.6)
  14. Denham Springs, Louisiana (1184.3)
  15. Gallup, New Mexico (1155.7)
  16. Atlantic City, New Jersey (1155.4)
  17. Fairfield, Alabama (1144.5)
  18. Muskegon Heights, Michigan (1128.8)
  19. Fort Myers, Florida (1127.5)
  20. Salisbury, Maryland (1122.5)
  21. South Tucson, Arizona (1119.7)
  22. Riviera Beach, Florida (1109.6)
  23. Prichard, Alabama (1108.3)
  24. Fort Pierce, Florida (1105.2)
  25. Lumberton, North Carolina (1096.6)
  26. Cocoa, Florida (1092.4)
  27. Lake City, South Carolina (1084.0)
  28. Moss Point, Mississippi (1079.6)
  29. Hapeville, Georgia (1069.4)
  30. Detroit, Michigan (1067.2)
  31. Tampa, Florida (1067.0)
  32. Irvington, New Jersey (1059.8)
  33. Belen, New Mexico (1051.0)
  34. Tukwila, Washington (1049.7)
  35. Benton Harbor, Michigan (1046.0)
  36. East Chicago, Indiana (1045.1)
  37. Hartsville, South Carolina (1029.1)
  38. Baltimore, Maryland (1025.1)
  39. Branson, Missouri (1025.0)
  40. Homestead, Florida (1020.8)
  41. Asbury Park, New Jersey (1009.5)
  42. Chattanooga, Tennessee (1008.6)
  43. Douglas, Georgia (1008.4)
  44. Orlando, Florida (995.4)
  45. Brunswick, Georgia (985.5)
  46. Camden, New Jersey (982.4)
  47. Lake City, Florida (976.9)
  48. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (976.2)
  49. Panama City Beach, Florida (975.1)
  50. Quincy, Florida (969.1)
  51. Kansas City, Missouri (968.0)
  52. Centreville, Illinois (967.4)
  53. Broadview, Illinois (966.8)
  54. Kings Mountain, North Carolina (964.8)
  55. Selma, North Carolina (956.8)
  56. West Columbia, South Carolina (952.4)
  57. Los Lunas, New Mexico (950.5)
  58. Memphis, Tennessee (948.5)
  59. Miami Beach, Florida (941.1)
  60. West Palm Beach, Florida (939.9)
  61. College Park, Georgia (932.2)
  62. Miami, Florida (920.3)
  63. Paris, Texas (917.2)
  64. Florence, South Carolina (914.8)
  65. Blytheville, Arkansas (914.6)
  66. Smithfield, North Carolina (913.4)
  67. Portsmouth, Ohio (912.8)
  68. Dayton, Ohio (912.1)
  69. Dade City, Florida (911.2)
  70. Daytona Beach, Florida (909.9)
  71. Forrest City, Arkansas (904.1)
  72. Commerce, California (902.5)
  73. Monroe, Louisiana (892.3)
  74. East Orange, New Jersey (887.5)
  75. Jackson, Mississippi (887.1)
  76. Trumann, Arkansas (886.1)
  77. Leesburg, Florida (880.5)
  78. Ripley, Tennessee (878.9)
  79. Belle Glade, Florida (877.5)
  80. Plaquemine, Louisiana (877.2)
  81. Flint, Michigan (876.5)
  82. Duquesne, Pennsylvania (873.4)
  83. Trenton, New Jersey (872.0)
  84. Desert Hot Springs, California (865.2)
  85. Moultrie, Georgia (863.9)
  86. Battle Creek, Michigan (863.7)
  87. Springfield, Massachusetts (860.1)
  88. Dunn, North Carolina (859.3)
  89. Sanford, Florida (857.8)
  90. Richmond, Virginia (857.0)
  91. Waynesboro, Georgia (850.8)
  92. Orange, New Jersey (850.1)
  93. Wilmington, North Carolina (849.9)
  94. Dallas, Texas (849.3)
  95. Spartanburg, South Carolina (847.9)
  96. Pontoon Beach, Illinois (845.9)
  97. Shelby, North Carolina (839.6)
  98. Live Oak, Florida (835.7)
  99. Gastonia, North Carolina (833.4)
  100. Hillsborough, North Carolina (832.8)

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m missing the definition of "light rail", because off the top of my head I recognize several on the list that have light rail –

    – St Louis (which extends into East St Louis, IL)
    – Atlanta (I’ve ridden it)
    – Tukwila (you rode it)
    – Dallas

    That said, I don’t buy the "crime train" argument either.

    Reply

  2. Whoops, I guess 1 out of the top 100 least safe cities has light rail. Atlanta doesn’t have light rail, but heavy/metro rail. It is different in function, capability, and in other physical ways as well. Tukwila didn’t have light rail when these stats where made, and barely has it now really, the light rail kind of just goes through and toward the airport. Dallas I just totally missed.

    Either way – 3 places with light rail, out of 100. Either way, the causation isn’t there, just the correlation. Which is the point. As you’ve mentioned also, "don’t buy the "crime train" argument".

    Reply

  3. I agree with you that the "crime train" argument is never a reason not to develop transit.

    However, I think you’re not getting the argument right. The argument is not "transit will bring crime to our city," but "transit will allow the crime to spread to our ‘safe’ suburbs."

    In other words, "It’s okay for those undesirables to hurt and kill each other in their inner-city neighborhoods. But our transit-poor suburbs are protected from them because many of them don’t have cars. Bringing transit here would allow Them to invade our suburbs and rape our daughters."

    That’s just as silly an argument (especially because lots of criminals have cars now – drive-by shootings, anyone?), but it’s harder to refute with figures.

    Reply

  4. I agree with you that the "crime train" argument is never a reason not to develop transit.

    However, I think you’re not getting the argument right. The argument is not "transit will bring crime to our city," but "transit will allow the crime to spread to our ‘safe’ suburbs."

    In other words, "It’s okay for those undesirables to hurt and kill each other in their inner-city neighborhoods. But our transit-poor suburbs are protected from them because many of them don’t have cars. Bringing transit here would allow Them to invade our suburbs and rape our daughters."

    That’s just as silly an argument (especially because lots of criminals have cars now – drive-by shootings, anyone?), but it’s harder to refute with figures.

    Reply

  5. Well, relating the two things is a silly argument period. Which is, in the end, my point.

    As for the "transit will bring crime to our city" vs. "transit will allow the crime to spread to our ‘safe’ suburbs" I’ve unfortunately heard both A LOT lately! Which is the main reason for this entry – I’m just sick and tired of hearing non-causation based arguments being made for not building stuff.

    Reply

  6. The MAX simply doesn’t make an effective get-away car. There are cameras everywhere, it’s not particularly fast, the police know exactly where it’s going, you might have to wait at the station for it to arrive, you can’t carry a lot of stuff, people are everywhere, etc.

    It amazes me that people really think that you’re going to rob a bank (or randomly murder someone, or burglarize a house, etc) and then hop on the MAX. (sigh)

    Reply

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