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We’re No. 1?

No matter how hard Detroit tries, it can’t seem to shed its hard-ass image. It doesn’t help that our humble town recently was named the most dangerous city in the nation for the third year in a row, according to Morgan Quitno Press.

Last month, the Kansas research and publishing company, which specializes in reference books and reports that compare states and cities, announced the results of its eighth-annual Safest City Award. The study included 327 municipalities with populations of 75,000 or more, comparing them in six major crime categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. Morgan Quitno bases its report on FBI crime statistics for 2000.

Detroit, which has a population just under a million, had the fifth-highest murder rate, recording 396 murders. Amherst, N.Y., with 117,000 residents, was awarded the top honor of safest city the second year in a row; it had no murders. Atlanta was named the second-most-dangerous city, followed by St. Louis and Baltimore.

Kurt Metzger, research director for the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University, says that Morgan Quitno’s methodology and data are sound. However, Metzger points out that the FBI figures show that Detroit has the fourth-highest crime rate in the country. That’s because the FBI tabulates numbers for the six crime categories and comes up with an overall crime rate. Morgan Quitno compares numbers for each crime category, giving more weight to violent crimes such as murder and rape, says company president Scott Morgan.

“Detroit does not rank No. 1 in any one of the violent crimes, but is in the top five in three of them. It may be unfair to say Detroit is the worst,” says Morgan. “However you get there, you still have an issue that needs to be addressed relative to the rest of the country.”

P.S. When this publication went to press last week, News Hits noticed the local media seemed not to have noted Detroit’s sad ranking. Maybe the press didn’t want to mar Motown’s nascent image as a “world-class” city.

However, a handful of publications, located in cities considered among the safest, dedicated at least a couple hundred words to the award. News Hits dares residents of those cities to set foot in Detroit, so that we can congratulate you in our own special way.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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