Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies and Allentown Crime Data

"Crime is down, with violent crime dropping by 18 percent last year, and all crime dropping by 9 percent."

A falling crime rate is invariably cited by those who claim there is light at the end of the Allentown tunnel. And The Morning Call dutifully reports the undeniable facts in its "Image Overhaul" piece, carefully adding that "the city had a record-tying 21 homicides last year and violent crime has doubled since the early 1990s."

So, is crime really down in Allentown? Sadly, the answer is no.

Using the same Pennsylvania State Police data relied on by Allentown cheerleaders, it appears that last year's Allentown crime rate was just 0.02% lower than its average over the past eight years.

This is evidence of a falling crime rate? It appears more like a manipulation of numbers. If you just compare 2006 with 2007, there was a five percent crime drop in Easton last year.

It's absurd to conclude that "crime is down" based on just two years of data. Want an example? According to PSP data, Nazareth's crime dropped a whopping 27% in 2007. But in 2007, Nazareth's police chief passed away after a lengthy illness and the department was rudderless.

Few would seriously argue that Nazareth or Easton took a big bite out of crime in 2007, and it's dangerously misleading to make that representation about Allentown.

9 comments:

Bill Villa said...

The Morning Call can do anything it wants to do and get away with it. In this case, it took a statistically skewed and laughably invalid survey sample that basically refutes "signs of progress" ... and used it anyway to "support" its rosy headline about people's perceptions of Allentown showing signs of progress. Maybe there are signs of progress but The Morning Call's junk science poll surely does not show it.

Bill said...

.02!

Unlock your doors and throw caution to the wind, we are free again!

Statistics are the hand tools of the devil, no surprise here.

Thank you for your diligence, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Crime is down, no need to anymore police. Now, go back to your business.

Please, back away, ok that's it! Your under arrest for disturbing the peace.

See! I told you crime is up.
We have one more arrest.

Let's talk more about real issues
like the economy.

This talk about police is shit. It's nothing more than Republican Committee People hyping the need for there pork bill for more police and robbing the local taxpayer.

It's like the Government is being ran with Organized Money!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I find mostly it is you that lies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

How clever!

Anonymous said...

Must be hell to get ripped by such a lucid attack...

The Morning Call is the classic example about why there used to be laws that required 2 newspapers in a town our size. However, now that there are so many outlets for opinions, that type of law is outdated.

The only way to deal w/ it is cancel your subscriptions and read it online. That way, at least they're not taking your $$ in addition to being a terrible newspaper.

This may be a more effective approach now. Their new owner watches things like revenue and profits, and will act if there's a problem in the paper's financial statements.

Other than starting another paper (which won't work anyway) this is the only course of action we have because they won't change.

Anonymous said...

sorry Bernie, wrong word - I meant "insipid" instead of lucid - was working on two things at once and got myself confused

Valima said...

I heard on the radio that in Easton, the Guardian Angels completed their training and graduated last evening.

Being a native of NYC, Guardian Angels are not new to me. It made me feel safe traveling underground (subway) particularly at night. I must also sadly admit that I hold more repsect for them than I do the NYPD.

I read much on the web about citizens being fed up with not only the crime in Allentown, but the lack of resources needed to address the growing criminal population.

I'm curious to know how many residents would be willing to assist in protecting what they once held so dear to them....their hometown.

Anonymous said...


Who are the real criminals: