Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Detroit is not an Apocalyptic Hellhole

Tom Walsh's column, from today's Detroit Free Press cities a recent study by a Wayne State professor that states that downtown Detroit isn't as dangerous as most people would have you believe. Considering that most media and suburban eyewitness accounts of downtown Detroit would lead you to believe that it's slightly less dangerous than Baghdad, this doesn't exactly come as a shock. I am a bit skeptical of the study, given that it was commissioned by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. Still, it does make some good points. Most notable is that Detroit's miniscule number of downtown residents (5272 according to the study) skews crime data since it is always reported as a ratio of number of crimes to residents. Factoring in the number of daytime commuters who work downtown makes sense, providing they aren't given the same weight as actual residents. The last sentence of the column is a classic, and in case you couldn't figure it out, the inspiration for the title of this entry.

1 comment:

MDS said...

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think it's true that people have overblown perceptions of the crime rate in Detroit. (And I think Americans who don't live in big cities have overblown perceptions of the crime rate everywhere.) But I also think it's clear that the author first set out to show that Detroit is safe and then put together all the data he could to make his case. That's not exactly the mark of a good researcher.