Two Bay Area Cities Make The Top 10 For Crime

Oakland is ranked 5th and Richmond is 9th in annual city crime rankings

Oakland has the fifth-highest crime rate and Richmond ranks ninth in the 15th annual listing of city crime rankings that were published this week by CQ Press, a unit of Congressional Quarterly Inc. Other Bay Area cities that made the list were Vallejo, which was 67, San Francisco at 102, Hayward at 125 and Berkeley at 132. The rankings are based on crime statistics compiled by the FBI for 2007. Reacting to the ratings earlier this week, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said in a statement, "Oakland is moving in the right direction when it comes to bringing peace to our streets." Dellums said, "I am confident that our comprehensive public safety strategy, which incorporates prevention, intervention, enforcement and sustainability, will allow us to further our goal of protecting our city." The mayor said, "This year, serious crime is down 3 percent, due in large part to a new geographic police deployment strategy, more officers on the street, deploying outreach workers to help stop crime before it happens, and working with our faith community to ensure that we are confronting the issue of crime and violence from every angle." Dellums added, "While trends are moving in the right direction, there is much work to be done. With time, I am very confident that the strategies we've implemented over the past year will continue to bear fruit and have more of an impact on crime and violence as we move forward." Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said today that although serious crime is down 3 percent this year, homicides are up 1 percent. Oakland's No. five ranking is a slight improvement over 2006, when it ranked fourth. Richmond also ranked ninth in 2006. Oakland ranked 21st in 2004 and eighth in 2005. Richmond ranked 11th for both 2004 and 2005. New Orleans was ranked as the highest crime city in 2007, followed by Camden, N.J., Detroit, St. Louis and Oakland. CQ Press has published the rankings the last two years. In previous years the rankings were published by Morgan Quitno Press. CQ Press says its rankings of the safest and most dangerous cities and metropolitan areas are calculated using six basic crime categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. In announcing its rankings this week, CQ Press admitted that its methodology "is considered by some in the law enforcement community as controversial." But the publisher said they think the ratings are valuable because they "tell an interesting and important story regarding crime in the United States" because they allow for comparisons among different cities and states and enable leaders to track their community's crime trends from one year to the next. Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, a former police chief and current chair of the criminal and social justice committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said in a statement, "These rankings represent a misuse of FBI data." Duffy said, "The rankings have no real value -- they are misleading and completely out of context. You cannot grab raw data in a simplistic fashion and draw meaningful conclusions, yet that is exactly what this publication is doing. Duffy alleged, "They do real harm to the reputations and economies of our cities. As we did last year, we are urging media outlets, which have long given these rankings broad coverage, to reconsider their approach and avoid biasing their audiences against our cities."

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