St. Louis singled out at the top of Most Dangerous Cities list

CQ most dangerous cities winner

St. Louis officials weren't thrilled to find their town at the top of the CQ most dangerous cities list. Image: CC Matthew Black/Flickr

The 2010 “Most Dangerous Cities” list has been published by the CQ Press. St. Louis took the honors as America’s most dangerous city in 2009, bumping the 2008 “winner” Camden, N.J., to second place. Critics call the CQ most dangerous cities list “irresponsible,” but CQ Press defends the rankings as a way for communities to hold civic leaders accountable.

American’s most dangerous cities

St. Louis reached the top of the CQ most dangerous cities in 2009 after being number two behind Camden the year before. Detroit, Mich., was number three, followed by neighboring Flint. Oakland, Calif., rounds out the top five. CQ Press compares cities around the U.S. based on rates for violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. The 2009 survey ranked St. Louis on top with 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The national average in the survey is 429.4. Camden finished seven points behind St. Louis and 18 points ahead of Detroit.

Violent crime statistics criticized

To rank cities on the most dangerous cities list, CQ Press uses FBI crime data. The Associated Press reports that city officials and some criminologists question the methodology of the survey. A spokesperson for the St. Louis Police Department told AP that the most dangerous cities list was irresponsible. Greg Scarbro, unit chief of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, told AP that the FBI discourages using its crime data for such rankings. A spokesman for the mayor’s office in St. Louis said crime has gone down each year since 2007. Camden Mayor Dana Redd told the Philadelphia Daily News that CQ issued a “flawed” report, published “for the sake of making a buck.”

CQ safest cities list

In contrast to the most dangerous cities, CQ Press named El Paso, Texas, a border city with raging Mexican drug violence right next door, as the safest of all cities of its size in the U.S. Honolulu was second safest and New York City was third. El Paso made number one for the first time in the survey after ranking as high as second or third in the CQ  safest cities report.


Associated Press

Philidelphia Daily News

El Paso Times

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