Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Galveston once again is painted a hellhole, but by those who have no knowledge or understanding the city I call home.  A Website called walletpop Listed the Strand area as one of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods.   The conclusions and statistics come with no understanding of the charactor of the city. This is drawn from 2008 statistics as near as we can tell from the described methodology. The Galveston Daily News also claims its from 2008 Data.

Galveston’s historic downtown district, a popular tourist destination, was in 2008 among the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, according to data compiled by a research and data mining company.

Galveston officials, however, said island crime rates in the last two years are at a 30-year low and that downtown is as safe as any other isle neighborhood.

Neighborhood Scout recently released on walletpop.com a collection of data gathered from FBI crime reports, proclaiming that people on Church Street between 19th and 26th streets stand a 1-in-11 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime, author Andrew Schiller said.

Schiller, who holds a doctorate in geography, said the rating is based on the predicted number of violent crimes in the neighborhood per 1,000 population. Violent crimes on the list include murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

Galveston is also host to a couple large events that draw large enthusiastic crowds, both  the Marde Gras, and the Biker Rally bring over 100,000 visitors and some get arrested. Its intresting to note that although the activities are in the mapped area. The events are in the nonresidential areas.

In Sept of 2008 Hurricane Ike came and visted us, along with a buch of hustlers, crooks and gypsy contractors.   Hurricane Ike also destroyed the public housing most of those people never returned. As one would expect the city leaders aren’t too happy about this report and have a few statistics of their own,

The WalletPop rating was based on NeighborhoodScout.com data. Galveston officials say their figures tell a different story.

“We always want to not be complacent, but this allegation is more sensationalist-driven than data-driven,” Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski said in an interview. He said his office will issue a press release on the report tomorrow featuring the police department’s latest crime statistics.

Galveston has had one homicide this year, and according to police figures, the city has seen a steady decline in the crime rate since 1990. The number of homicides has rested below 10 victims per year for the last 10 years. But the WalletPop stats say your chance of becoming a victim on Church St. is 1 in 11. It also said Church St. had a violent crime rate of 88 per 1,000 and 84 predicted annual violent crimes.

Jeff Heyse, a captain in the investigative services bureau of the Galveston Police Department, was stunned by the results. The area is ripe with business activity, residential homes and used to house the police department, where a high numbers of citizens would walk in to report crimes. He says that could account for Church St.’s statistics along with a wave of thefts that occurred after the area was struck by Hurricane Ike in 2008. He said the survey did not make it clear how information from each location was gathered and if they made distinctions between certain offenses.

The figures for dangerous crimes aren’t based on a population of less than 1000 people, On any given weekend the number of visitors in that part of town is multiplied by several times skewing the crimes per capita figures.  Its a shame that folks have to malign a place they likely have never visited and have no understanding about just to promote a website so that they may get a get a few hits.

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