Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

USA: Dangerous Cities

The 14th annual "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America" was just published by CQ Press, a component of Congressional Quarterly, Inc. The report is based on indicators from the FBI's September 24, 2007 crime statistics report. Detroit was named as the nation’s most dangerous city, now occupying the position previously held by St. Louis, Missouri. The study did not include Chicago, Minneapolis and other Illinois and Minnesota cities due to incomplete reporting data.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Detroit was known as the murder capital of the nation. Detroit lost nearly 1 million people since 1950 according to the Census Bureau. Downtown sports stadiums and corporate headquarters, along with the re-development of the riverfront, have slowed but not reversed the population decline in this city of 919,000.

Criminologists and law enforcement across the country scrutinize the most dangerous cities list when it is published every year. Altogether, statistics were gathered on a total of 378 cities having a population of at least 75,000 based on per capita rates for homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. Each crime category was considered separately and was measured according to seriousness. The study assigns a “crime score“ for the cities, with zero representing the national average. Detroit got a score of 407, while St. Louis followed at 406. The score for Mission Viejo, in prosperous Orange County, California, was minus 82.

Many officials have said crime reports don't contribute to solutions in solving the problems of rampant crime in American cities. Some even go so far as to claim the “numbers don’t add up,” most likely due to the fact they dislike the negative picture it creates of their respective communities. The American Society of Criminology attacked the study, calling it "an irresponsible misuse of crime data."

However, CQ Press said in a statement that the report "Helps concerned Americans learn how their communities fare in the fight against crime. The first step in making our cities and states safer is to understand the true magnitude of their crime problems. This will only be achieved through straightforward data that all of us can use and understand."

Meanwhile, the FBI report indicated that hate crime incidents in the United States increased last year by 8 percent, as racial prejudice continued to account for more than half the reported cases. Since the FBI began collecting hate crime data (1991), racial bias has been listed as the most frequent motivation, accounting for 51.8 percent of the incidents in 2006. Religious bias was blamed for 18.9 percent of the incidents; sexual orientation bias for 15.5 percent, and ethnic or national origin for 12.7 percent.

The greatest percentage of incidents, 31 percent, occurred near residences or homes. Another 18 percent occurred on highways or streets, 12.2 percent at colleges or schools, 6.1 percent in parking lots or garages, 3.9 percent at churches, synagogues or temples. Most frequently, hate crimes in 2006 consisted of property damage or vandalism, at 2,911 offenses, and intimidation, at 2,046 offenses.

“The FBI report confirms what we have been saying for many months about the severe increase in hate crimes," said the Reverend Al Sharpton. "What is not reported, however, is the lack of prosecution and serious investigation by the Justice Department to counter this increase in hate crimes." The Justice Department is currently investigating a number of noose incidents at various schools, work places and neighborhoods all around the country. Virginia Tech, Columbine…there seems to be no end to the cycle of violence in the US.

MOST DANGEROUS 25 US CITIES: 1. Detroit 407.2 2. St. Louis 406.2 3. Flint, Mich. 381.0 4. Oakland, Calif. 338.9 5. Camden, N.J. 323.8 6. Birmingham, Ala. 268.8 7. North Charleston, S.C. 254.3 8. Memphis, Tenn. 245.6 9. Richmond, Calif. 245.1 10. Cleveland 244.4 11. Orlando, Fla. 237.4 12. Baltimore 236.7 13. Little Rock, Ark. 233.8 14. Compton, Calif. 223.6 15. Youngstown, Ohio 222.0 16. Cincinnati 218.3 17. Gary, Ind. 214.0 18. Kansas City, Mo. 203.4 19. Dayton, Ohio 201.5 20. Newark, N.J. 197.3 21. Philadelphia 192.9 22. Atlanta 189.9 23. Jackson, Miss. 188.8 24. Buffalo, N.Y. 187.8 25. Kansas City, Kan. 187.6 ------ SAFEST 25 US CITIES: 1. Mission Viejo, Calif. -82.1 2. Clarkstown, N.Y. -81.0 3. Brick Township, N.J. -78.7 4. Amherst, N.Y. -75.4 5. Sugar Land, Texas -75.4 6. Colonie, N.Y. -74.6 7. Thousand Oaks, Calif. -73.8 8. Newton, Mass. -73.5 9. Toms River Township, N.J. -72.7 10. Lake Forest, Calif. -71.7 11. Irvine, Calif. -71.1 12. Orem, Utah -70.6 13. Round Rock, Texas -69.4 14. Cary, N.C. -68.6 15. Greece, N.Y. -68.5 16. Chino Hills, Calif. -63.2 17. Coral Springs, Fla. -62.0 18. Troy, Mich. -61.8 19. Farmington Hills, Mich. -61.7 20. Centennial, Colo. -61.3 21. Glendale, Calif. -59.2 22. Broken Arrow, Okla. -58.8 23. Parma, Ohio -58.8 24. Sterling Heights, Mich. -58.5 25. Simi Valley, Calif. -58.5