After a California-based real estate brokerage ranked New Haven as Connecticut’s most dangerous city, local authorities have dismissed the ranking as inaccurate.
Movoto real estate, an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, California, used data from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report to compile its report on the most dangerous cities in Connecticut. Based on a number of factors, including the average number of violent and property crimes per person, New Haven was ranked as the most dangerous. But both the New Haven Police Department and a representative of Yale questioned the ranking’s legitimacy.
“[The data] is not reflective [of the state of crime in New Haven],” said NHPD spokesman David Hartman. “The FBI has over and over again denounced such reports as using just numbers and not circumstances … numbers don’t paint a good picture of crime.”
Hartman said that the state of crime in New Haven has improved significantly over the past years, largely due to the return of community policing.
University Deputy Chief Communications Officer Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 echoed Hartman’s sentiment. He argued that the ranking is invalid and an irresponsible misuse of data, adding that it impedes society’s understanding of crime-related issues.
“Much more important than invalid rankings used as clickbait by commercial websites and recirculated by some news sites are the facts of how people and businesses make decisions,” he said.
To this end, Morand listed several indicators that homebuyers have a positive view of the city. These included New Haven’s low apartment vacancy rate and the fact that New Haven has the highest population growth rate of any city in New England, according to the latest census.
He also pointed out that larger organizations and retailers are placing their faith in the city. For example, Gateway Community College has moved its campus from the outskirts of New Haven to the center.
Realtor Paul Denz, owner of the New Haven-based Northside Development Company, said that crime has not been an issue in bringing people to the city.
“I can’t remember anyone ever saying [they’re] not moving to New Haven because it’s crime ridden,” Denz said.
Morand said that violent crime began declining in the city over two decades ago.
Hartman said that over the past few years, the NHPD has developed partnerships with other law enforcement entities and non-law enforcement entities, such as the Board of Education. This has been vital to facilitating the NHPD’s goals.
“We’ve seen dramatic drops in violent crime city-wide,” said Hartman. “From Project Longevity to task forces, there are a lot of things going on that are considered behind the scenes … there’s a great deal of proactive work that we didn’t see years ago.”
Morand said that Yale’s campus safety is also continuing to improve, and that it compares favorably to peer institutions.
Violent and property crimes in New Haven are down 9 percent this year.