by Chris Haire
North Chuck Police Jon Zumalt is not pleased with the city No. 7 ranking on a recently published list of the most dangerous cities in America, according to a report in today's P&C:
"The study is questionable to say the least," Zumalt said. "I just don't pay it any mind."
Much of the discrepancy between the city and metro-area numbers are because they compare different things: newer bedroom communities to older urban areas and touristy beach communities.
"If you look at the 25 most dangerous (cities) and the 25 safest, they're two different types of communities," said Jeff Rojek, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina.
Case in point: Detroit; St. Louis, Mo.; and Flint, Mich., are the most dangerous three cities, while Mission Viejo, Calif.; Clarkstown, N.Y.; and Brick Township, N.J. are the safest three.
So, bedroom communities dominate the safest list and larger cities with large populations of poor, disenfranchised folks are the most dangerous. There's nothing to be surprised about here. Even Zumalt more or less concedes that North Chuck is a dangerous place and for the same reason that other places in the U.S. are dangerous: "high dropout rates, broken homes, and the thorny issue of black on black crime." (I would add poor paying jobs/unemployment and drug use to that list of causes as well. Don't even get me started on black on black crime; it's largely a misnomer that focuses more on race and history and less on on poverty and other traditional high crime contributing factors. But I guess the black on crime chant plays well here. Oh well.)
But Zumalts's bedroom v. older urban areas doesn't hold water. North Chuck isn't high on the list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. because Mission Viejo is high on the list of safest cities. North Charleston is high on the list because crime rates are higher here than in most other cities, including top tier towns like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Mission Viejo and all the other bedroom communities could be removed from the list and North Charleston would still rank No. 7.