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Survey calling Springfield one of top 10 most dangerous cities in the US may be misusing data

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:07 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A recent survey puts Springfield in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S. for 2021. But it turns out the data used is not being compared the way it was created.

The FBI warns this data wasn’t gathered to compare city to city, but as a way to compare changes from year to year. This is important because it is self-reported data and the way each city tracks and reports safety issues can vary.

“Anybody who lives in Springfield can certainly name more than that many cities more dangerous than Springfield and we don’t have to think really hard about it,” Matt Morrow, President of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce says.

While it’s true, Springfield’s metro area had a collective violent crime rate of 6.3 incidents per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 36.7, the city is reporting thoroughly. It’s something the author of the study says she knows can be skewed.

“We just thought it would be an interesting exercise but what it’s grown into is a real dialog on what is going on in a city that reports more or less crime,” Rebecca Edwards, reporter for Safewise.com says. “I know more than anyone the flaws in using the data in ways the FBI doesn’t want us to use the data,” she adds. “And I think the danger there is you are labeling a community and characterizing them a certain way.”

And while it certainly makes for an interesting headline, it is something local leaders don’t love to see.

“Sometimes we are working with people who are not really familiar with the area and familiarity really begins with a Google search,” Morrow says. “So if their search engines are being populated with stories like that-- certainly I’d rather them be populated with stories that are true. That’s what I’d rather.”

To see the full survey click here.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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