Carrick Community Council Response to 2012 Crime Statistics
Crime Statistics 2012 City of Pittsburgh
Carrick Community Council's Response
Carrick Community Council responds to 2012 crime data
November 19, 2013 | Vol. 74 No. 18
The Carrick Community Council (CCC) recently responded to a televised report quoting the 2012 Annual Crime Report, published by the Pittsburgh Police, noting Carrick had the highest number of burglaries in a neighborhood in 2012.
“When first glancing at the 2012 Annual Crime Report, some statistics for Carrick do appear quite high relative to other neighborhoods. However, interpreting the safety of a given neighborhood using only the pure numbers can be misleading, as population and other factors must be taken into account,” the reply noted.
CCC officials point out the neighborhood comparisons don’t provide any insight into the variables concerning crime in an area.
“Simplistic comparisons based only upon crimes that occur in an area do not take into account the fixed population, the transient population, the factors that lead to a particular crime (such as an area with a high density of parking lots may have more occurrences of thefts from vehicles), the geography and other factors that impact crime. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each neighborhood,” they noted.
The reply pointed out Carrick’s population of 10,113 makes it one of the largest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. When comparing the per capita crime statistics of other neighborhoods with smaller populations, the numbers end up being similar.
The community council stated it was “extremely important” that Carrick residents have formed many block watches, covering blocks in all parts of the neighborhood. Carrick block watches and their activities were the model for the City of Pittsburgh’s Block Watch in a Box initiative.
“If one reviews the total calls by zone,” they wrote. “Calls in Zone 3 are consistently the highest because residents of Carrick are committed to policing their neighborhood and call 911 to report suspicious activity.
“A review of all city neighborhoods’ per capita crime rates in each specific category would tell a much clearer story about which areas are truly most ‘dangerous’ or ‘safe’ in a relative sense. Hopefully, the 2013 Annual Report is undertaken with a little more statistical sophistication, and a better eye toward providing an accurate narrative for our residents and media.
“Thus, in the future, we suggest that Annual Crime Reports be based on population and the other factors mentioned in their ‘Caution Against Comparisons,’ not on simplistic and misleading numerical counts.”