DeKalb Threat Data by Neighborhood


A member of the City of DeKalb’s Safe/Quality Housing Task Force recently offered me copies of the crime data the group has been poring over this summer — but only if I promised not to publish it, because it’s not for public consumption!

Perhaps we should be training these committees, commissions and whatnot in the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act before setting them loose. (This is assuming the claim was merely ignorant and not the behavior of a pompous blowhard doing the Superior Strut.)

At any rate, under FOIA I’ve easily obtained the very same documents.

Today I’m pulling mostly from the Block Group Analysis. It is based on the 2010 U.S. Census plus local tracking of police activities. The city has helpfully provided definitions of these threats:

Personal Safety Threat – a crime against a person or persons that is physical and violent, in which someone uses force or threatens to use force to negatively affect another person’s health, life or liberty and crimes related to significant drug activity (delivery and manufacturing).

Quality of Life Threat – a visual and/or audible disturbance to neighbors or the neighborhood and issues (crimes/incidents) that reduce the desirability of a neighborhood.

Please note that the block group analysis of threats is not the same as the crime analysis. Not all crimes are threats by these definitions, nor vice-versa.

See how your neighborhood stacks up.

[table id=28 /]

Statement of the painfully obvious: University Village has big problems. I hope the Housing Task Force is looking hard at the Village and not just Greek Row.

I’m also quite interested in the North 5th Ward area because of a proposal to begin a resident officer program there. It looks like there are at least four other neighborhoods that need the program more.

But let’s look at the numbers another way. The following is a compilation of data for the neighborhoods ranking highest in numbers of incidents. Here, I’ve included the rate of personal safety threats in the residential portion of each group (last column) because that number almost always differs from the total block rate, and sometimes significantly so.

[table id=29 /]

Suddenly Greek Row jumps out, its size no longer obscuring the fact that 10% of the personal safety threats happen there. (In contrast, Devonaire & Knolls subdivisions hold 6.8% of the population and chalked up 3% of the personal safety threats.) The “top” three combined account for 18.6% of the population and fully 30% of these incidents.

So what happened to those troubled south side areas? A couple of them show up in a companion to the table above, which holds the next groups ranked 6-10 in number of incidents.

[table id=30 /]

The North 5th Ward, again, ends up in 5th place. I hate to keep harping on the resident officer thing, but I’d really not like to see TIF ambition trumping larger considerations of the general welfare.

If I publish from the crime analysis, you’ll see North 5th came in 7th place for rate of serious crime, though I haven’t yet made decisions about what else to post.

E-mail me if you’d like copies of the documents.