The perception that living in an urban area significantly increases the likelihood that one will become the victim of violent crime is one of the major impediments to seeing a significant increase in the number of people of means moving to the city. People don’t want to die. People don’t want to experience extreme danger, pain, or injury. That is perfectly reasonable. What individuals and, as it turns out, place rating organizations fail to comprehend is that most crime, urban or not, is correlated to identity and not location and that the small number of innocent bystanders and randomly selected victims of urban violence don’t even begin to compare numerically to the death and destruction meted out by the automobile.
The numbers go like this: According to the data we have, only 22% of victims are murdered by strangers. That’s about 3,000 people a year. Over 30,000 people a year die, and over 2 million people a year are injured, in and because of automobiles. When you see that the numbers show that death and injury rates related to cars vary greatly by location and that the relationship is clearly causal, given the rational desire people have to not die, it would make sense that place rating sites would include a combination of miles driven per person and deaths per mile in their place rating. But they don’t. At all.
So, drug deals going bad, gang members going bang-bang, and angry exes doing their dirty work should be part of the calculation you use to decide where to live, but knowing which places actually put you in danger by their very design in ways which are both knowable and known is unnecessary. It’s hard to think of an analogously moronic abuse of statistical calculation.
Who you are, not where you are, determines an overwhelming portion of the statistical probability that you will be a victim of homicide: Calculate it as a significant factor in deciding where to live.
Where you are plays a dominant role in determining the probability that you will die in a car: Ignore it completely when you decide where to live.
Check out this list:
By comparison, the best data I can find says Springfield averages around 3 deaths per 100,000.