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Old 12-19-2019, 09:55 AM
 
586 posts, read 1,164,228 times
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I read a weird article recently stating Columbia, MD was ranked the safest city in America for the second year in a row. Being a Columbia resident, I thought this was weird because I know there are robberies, home invasions and vehicle thefts every week in Columbia. Just read the daily crime blog in Howard County.

https://patch.com/maryland/columbia/...y-america-2019

But then I noticed weird metrics for "safety" were used in the article like "financial safety". But according to traditional metrics for safety, Columbia is not even the safest town in the Baltimore area, let alone Howard County. As a matter of fact, Ellicott City and Clarksville are much safer according to crime stat data on Neighborhoodscout. According to Neighborhoodscout, Columbia is only safer than 23% of American cities and towns.

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For a suburb in the Baltimore area, this is pretty much average as Owings Mills and Towson had similar safety ratings on Neighborhoodscout. Lower income areas closer Baltimore like Middleriver, Essex and Dundalk predictably had lower safety ratings.

But then I began to compare Columbia's crime stats to various towns in Montgomery county and came to the conclusion that almost all of Montgomery County towns save Takoma Park had better safety ratings on Neighborhoodscout compared to Columbia.

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Takoma Park was the only Montgomery County town to score below 30 on the Neighborhoodscout crime index. Which is why I laugh when I hear people from Montgomery County saying Wheaton or Gaithersburg are "ghetto". Many towns in PG County also had much better safety ratings. Even infamous inner beltway communities like Capitol Heights.

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I think what outsiders don't know about Columbia is that it was a town created on diversity, to include people of all races and income levels. To this day, Columbia lives up to these ideals. But as a result, you have people living in Columbia who really can't afford to live there. Even though Howard County is one of the richest counties in the country, that wealth isn't distributed equally by a long shot. I live in Harper's Choice which has the highest concentration of public housing in Columbia.

Montgomery County and the DC area is vastly different. The DC area is so segregated that most of the black people in Montgomery County are somewhat recent African immigrants who are college educated and have white collar jobs or own successful brick and mortar businesses like gas stations. Also, Latinos in Montgomery County are busy doing the hard labor blue collar jobs white people refuse to do. PG County is the richest black majority county in America and outside of the inner beltway is actually very safe. Crime rating indexes for Bowie and Upper Marlboro tell this story.

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But in Columbia, the dynamic is different if you aren't at least middle class and don't have a car. Most robberies in Columbia occur on the footpaths. And they happen all over Columbia even in areas you wouldn't expect. People huff and puff out here about being from some tough place like Baltimore, DC or the Bronx, but what would you do if you were approached by four teenagers wearing ski masks flashing a gun while walking home from wherever in Columbia?

I think the flaw of this study was comparing Columbia to major cities. No Columbia does not have real ghetto areas left to rot like you have in a major city like Baltimore, Philadelphia or Detroit. No bullets aren't flying around on a daily basis in Columbia. The problem in America is that we think of everything in extremes. But to say it's the safest city in America is a lie when it's far from being even the safest suburb in the Baltimore- Washington corridor.

Last edited by Yac; 12-23-2019 at 03:51 AM..
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Old 12-19-2019, 07:39 PM
 
586 posts, read 1,164,228 times
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And although Takoma Park had a slightly lower overall safety rating than Columbia, statistically, you still are more likely to be a victim of violent crime in Columbia. You have a 1 in 325 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Takoma Park whereas you have a 1 in 258 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Columbia. And it's obvious why Takoma Park would have the lowest safety rating in MoCo being that it's right next to the infamous Langley Park and very close to what were some of the roughest streets in DC.

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Compare that to Clinton, MD where your chances of being a victim of violent crime are even lower at 1 in 564.

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I think the wealthiest most liberal white majority jurisdictions have a nasty habit of trying to portray their city as more utopian than most places when in reality it is often worse than average for the poor and people of color. I know being a San Francisco native. Outsiders don't know that San Francisco had the worst case of black flight of any major city and the highest black murder rate of any big city for years. The idea pushed by wealthy white liberals in San Francisco was that Oakland was the bad town and that SF was always implied as more progressive and didn't have the same problems of the average American big city. Just like how people in Howard County say all of PG County is "bad" just because it's majority black when many predominantly black towns in PG County are statistically much safer than Columbia.

Anywhere you have a lot of unemployed poor people, you're gonna have a regularity of crime regardless of racial demographics. They say idle hands are the devils workshop and in Columbia, there are a lot of younger folks who are too poor to live there who have few options for work other than working for minimum wage in fast food or retail, public transit sucks and is unreliable, so they choose to rob and sell drugs instead. What a surprise there. In MoCo and PG, the fruits of getting a college education and working are more evident. Columbia is a somewhat isolated commuter suburb with a built in Section 8 class courtesy of James Rouse.

I'm not saying Columbia is a rough ghetto town by any means. But it easily could become that way in relatively short period of time. Saying it's the "safest city in America" is just false advertising.

Last edited by Yac; 12-23-2019 at 03:51 AM..
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Old 12-20-2019, 07:04 AM
 
15,824 posts, read 5,756,041 times
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Maybe for it size.
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:22 PM
 
956 posts, read 967,375 times
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You make a very good case OP.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:22 PM
 
Location: HoCo, MD
4,714 posts, read 8,283,666 times
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They say they looked at the 150 most populous cities in the U.S. as well as the two most populous cities in each state. Baltimore and Columbia happens to be the most populous in MD. This ended up being 183 cities, and there are no other cities included in MD.

What this comes down to is the "safest cities based on the ones we looked at". And in MD, it simply says that Columbia is safer than Baltimore.... not exactly earth shattering.
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:56 PM
 
3,363 posts, read 3,434,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macroy View Post
They say they looked at the 150 most populous cities in the U.S. as well as the two most populous cities in each state. Baltimore and Columbia happens to be the most populous in MD. This ended up being 183 cities, and there are no other cities included in MD.

What this comes down to is the "safest cities based on the ones we looked at". And in MD, it simply says that Columbia is safer than Baltimore.... not exactly earth shattering.

Columbia is not the second largest city in Maryland. Frederick is. In fact Columbia is not even a city. There are no cities in Howard of Baltimore County. Those counties do not have cities or towns, All government is concentrated at the county level.
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