[Excerpt] As a municipality, New Haven is highly unusual: Despite being home to 80,000 jobs, it is so small in land area that most of its working residents are employed in other towns, and vice versa.
When comparing places, good researchers define a city not as a municipality, but as the place where, by standard methodology, the majority of people live, work and shop. This can be done by neighborhood, by commuting radius or by employment area, allowing researchers to standardize comparisons.
A 2010-2011 ranking of the 350 largest comparable U.S. urban areas by CQ Press, using audited FBI statistics, is one example. Places such as Detroit, Flint, Mich., Baltimore and Memphis, Tenn., remain near the top of the list, while New Haven is ranked at 168 on the danger scale, similar to Salt Lake City, Boston, Honolulu, and Eugene, Ore.
Despite using 2010 crime statistics, 24/7 Wall Street uses population estimates based on the 2000 Census,instead of the 2010 data released months ago by the Census Bureau. New Haven grew by 5 percent since 2000, adding more population than any other place in Connecticut. Most of the other "dangerous" cities on 24/7 Wall Street's list, like Oakland, Calif. lost significant population since 2000.
Furthermore, calculations of crime rate should adjust for the fact that in some cities, the daytime and visitor population is far larger than the resident population. Unlike many communities, New Haven has a net population gain of 28,000 people because so many residents of surrounding towns travel to New Haven to work.
As a major retail, education, health care and entertainment hub, New Haven gains further tens of thousands of visitors daily. Calculating crime incidence using only residential population does not accurately measure risk, nor is it an accurate way to compare municipalities.
There are no typical citizens within a city. As detailed by a New Haven Health Department report on community safety, the likelihood of being a crime victim varies dramatically by age, demographic group and access to safe housing, education, jobs and transportation.
As a result, crime incidents within New Haven neighborhoods vary, and many are at or above the levels of safety elsewhere in Connecticut and the nation. Several recent surveys show the variability in health and safety within neighborhoods. In some areas, residents are satisfied with access to parks and youth programs, in others, they are not. In some, the majority of respondents said they felt safe walking outside at night, while in others they did not.
Creating an equal sense of opportunity among all citizens, regardless of socioeconomic status or neighborhood, is key to further crime reduction.