In light of recent events and ongoing civil unrest across the country, we've taken an even closer look at how we report on the communities we rank.
We recognize that using FBI crime data, as self-reported by local law enforcement agencies, is a one-dimensional and inadequate measure of our nation’s communities.
Crime data, on its own, misses many nuances that contribute to safety—or the lack thereof—including the persistent systemic issues of police violence, economic disparity, and racism.
Simple counts of violent and property crime incidents don't reflect important realities that impact both the perception and the reality of safety in neighborhoods and cities.
Starting with our 2020 safest and most dangerous metro area rankings, we're adding multiple data points to our reports, including the following factors:
- Median income and poverty data
- High school graduation rates
- Redlining practices
- Household access to high-speed internet
- City budget allocations
- Unemployment rates
We chose these data points because, over the past six years, we’ve observed a correlation between socioeconomic factors and reported crime rates.
In 2019 we launched our sentiment survey, the State of Safety, to help us better understand and contextualize crime and how people across the country feel about safety—at home and in their community. We’ve added this dimension to our 2020 reports as a first step toward improving the relevance and veracity of these rankings.
In the future, we will emphasize both assets and challenges within the cities we rank and move the conversation beyond crime to incorporate the underlying issues that can help and hurt the safety and wellbeing of a community.