Two years into Rodney Monroe's reign as Chief of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police department, questions remain about how the department reports crime statistics.
The Chief and his brass held a press conference last Wednesday to passionately refute statistics reported by NeigborhoodScout.com that ranked one area of Charlotte as one of the most dangerous in the nation.
According to the Charlotte Observer: Chief Rodney Monroe called the report a "kick in the teeth" while another police leader said researchers had run the numbers and called the classification simply 'inaccurate".
The study says there are 108.94 crimes per 1,000 residents in an area bounded by North Graham Street, Atando Avenue, Brevard Street and the Brookshire Freeway. There is a 1 in 9 chance of being a crime victim in the area, the survey says.
But police say they crunched the numbers for 2008 and 2009 and got significantly different answers.
"The numbers were quite off," said Deputy Police Chief Kerr Putney. "We tried, and we can't replicate that data."
In 2009, police say, there were 25 violent crimes per 1,000 people. In 2008, there were 33 crimes per 1,000 people.
But it all depends on whose numbers you use.
So let's take a simple look at the facts:
According to the 2000 census the population of census tract 52 is 3056. However the number of people ages 17-48 is 1201 this is the age range of violent crime victims reported during the 2008 year.
The number of violent crimes reported is 129 January to December 2008.
1201/129 gives you slightly more than 10.74 but it is a number pretty close to the NeighborhoodScout.com report.
Keep in mind that the area in question is heavy on warehouse and vacant space, the homes in the area are mainly northeast from 24th street on. But the area is also a pathway to other neighbor hoods. According to one CMPD officer many of victims are transiting the area, some to buy drugs in adjoining neighborhoods.
According to the "Map Crime in Your Neighborhood" feature there were 97 violent crimes in the area used in the study conducted by NeighborhoodScout.com for the one year period ending October 10, 2010. So maybe crime is down?
But pay attention to the disclaimer on the Observer website:
"This map shows information on selected crimes from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for areas within its jurisdiction. The data is refreshed weekly on Mondays. The data may be incomplete, and locations are approximate. For a similar map that shows weekly crime data citywide, visit charlotteobserver.com/crimemap. For a CMPD online crime map and other information, visit www.cmpd.org."
"Selected Crimes"? "Data may be incomplete"?
So who knows? It all depends on who you trust, and if you can trust a man who has lied to us time and time again in the past?
Now more magic numbers, this time a crime map for uptown:
Here the same mapping program shows 106 violent crimes in an area 1/2 the size of census tract 52. But the population is nearly 4 times the size as tract 52. So based on NeighborhoodScout.com Uptown is considerably safer.
Smoke and Mirrors? Nope just numbers..... the real truth is how safe you feel along North Tryon at 2AM.