Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Oakland homicide ranking

By awoodall
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 1:46 pm in Crime/Courts.

A new ranking of cities by homicide rates that, unlike FBI and other reports, “adjusts each city’s homicide figures by differences across the cities in poverty, median income, male unemployment, race composition, and female-headed families.” The researchers say that the model produces a more meaningful comparison of city homicide levels, especially for providing insight into the effectiveness of criminal justice policies and programs.

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8 Responses to “Oakland homicide ranking”

  1. V Smoothe Says:

    Funny, Oakland ranks even higher on the list after the rankings are “adjusted.”

  2. awoodall Says:

    I know. Acc. to the report, “an increase in rank means that a city has a higher homicide rate than would be expected absed on its level of disadvantage.” I am curious how 2008 would look when fed through this model. I was also thinking that the disparity among Oakland’s districts may skew the results if they don’t account for the much higher incomes in some areas vs. the poverty in East and West Oakland, where the vast majority of homicides take place. It’s not reliable if they are using averages — always statistically problematic.

  3. Dave C. Says:

    It really depends what you are trying to learn from the statistics. If you want to judge effectiveness of criminal justice policies or programs, then sure, statistics that control for factors like poverty might be more meaningful than raw numbers. If you are a citizen trying to decide where to raise a family, however, then raw crime statistics may be more meaningful than numbers that have been adjusted.

    “Hey, honey, let’s move to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border: the cost of living is extremely low, and so are crime rates after you adjust for poverty, unemployment, and other socio-economic factors!”

    I also find it strange that the press release says that the FBI “discourages ranking cities by their crime rates because cities differ in poverty, unemployment, and other crime-producing factors beyond their control.” Why are poverty and unemployment rates considered entirely beyond cities’ control, while violence rates are not? It might be useful from a criminologist’s perspective to isolate these factors, but from a wider perspective, I think it is actually dangerous to separate these issues too much. If city governments start thinking that they can ignore economic development because poverty and unemployment are “beyond their control,” then I think they’ll quickly reach the limits of what they can accomplish through policing tactics alone.

  4. Bridget Says:

    The statistics that demonstrate how violent the city of Oakland really is are not published. Take a look at the number of shootings per day in Oakland. Some days as many as ten people are shot but our medical professionals are just really good at saving lives….let’s see those numbers!!!!

  5. das88 Says:

    It has been awhile since I have done serious stat work, but I can tell you these guys are jokers.

    When you look at the technical info, they state “The model explains about 71% of the variation in homicide rates across the cities” like that is a good thing. The reason they “explain” so much of the variation is that their independent variables are all highly correlated — poverty, median household income, male unemployment, percentage black, and female headed household.

    What they are basically saying is that because we have rich people (who also tend to be non-black, employed, two parent households, above poverty line) living in Rockridge and the hills we should have less homicides in the flatlands.

  6. shareef Says:

    I fill the murder rate in Oakland is high because it’s minorities killing one another. Let’s keep it real, this would never happen in a white community. What is it call when four white people who live in the same community are found murder at different times. The work of a cereal killer. What is it call when four black people are found murder at different times. A gang or drug related murder. You have cereal killer running around Oakland. There were over one hundred murders last year. And i don’t believe that there are one hundred individuals doing all the murders. I feel it’s a hand full of people. And if it’s a hand full of people. Then you have a group of cereal killers in the hood. And the federal government should be taking the lead in bringing in the F.B.I. But again because it’s minority it’s easy to label the murders as gang or drug related. In closing i would like to say that a cereal killer today if they wouldn’t to practice there craft, all they have to do is come to the hood. The likely hood of them getting caught is slim especially if there killing black people. This Government loves to brag about how they curved the violence in Iraq. That’s good for Iraq but what about here, there are many cities in America that’s worst then the worst city in Iraq. So if we’re going to change a culture then we need to change our own culture of violence.

  7. Oby Says:

    Yesterday a man was found dead in his bathtub covered with milk in a downtown Oakland hotel. Police say it was a cereal murder.

  8. izzy Says:

    I have been to Oakland many times and from what I’ve experienced many of the murders are gang and drug related. I think that it is a poverty issue. Kids see their older brother selling drugs and making in a day what their mother makes in a month and when they get older they fall into that same lifestyle. By then a majority of the neighborhood is on drugs and people from other parts of town start goin to their “hood” to sell drugs. Thats where the killings come from. They kill whoever is invading on their turf and taking their customers. The outsiders get shot and then their friends from the other side of town come over to retaliate. I think that in any poor community there is going to be drugs, gangs (of some kind) and murder. They all go together and fit hand in hand. As far as a “white” community goes have you ever heard of a tailer park? I live in a “white” town and we have our “Ghettos” and the same shit that goes on in oakland goes on there. Its not a white or black thing its a rich or poor thing.

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