Many Jacksonville residents were jolted when they saw a graphic suggesting Jacksonville is a dangerous place to live.
Compiled by the liberal Washington Post and also published on Fox News, the graphic shows “cities with the most violent crime” and Jacksonville is 17th on the list, behind hell-holes such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and just above St. Louis.
The graphic also lists the political party of the mayor of each city.
All were Democrat or Independent – except Jacksonville, where Republican Lenny Curry is mayor.
But, calm down.
Any such comparison should always be examined closely.
For example, there have stories lately purporting to show that Jacksonville is the fasting growing city in Florida, and also “shrinking” more than any city in Florida. A shrinking, liberal newspaper in Jacksonville portrayed the situation as “Jacksonville is growing slower than any other city in Florida.”
Eye on Jacksonville does not have the data used by the Post to make its comparison. But it claimed to be based on the amount of violent crime, presumably the most recent.
We looked elsewhere.
There is a site called “RoadSnacks” that spends most of its time making such comparisons. It has one list based on the FBI Uniform Crime Report called “the most dangerous cities.”
Jacksonville ranks 80th on the list. St. Louis heads the list.
Jacksonville doesn’t even make the top 10 in RoadSnacks list of most dangerous cities in Florida.
On the other hand, another site claims the city is a dangerous place.
Another caveat is a statistical fact everyone should know: correlation is not causation.
There is little evidence to show that the person who is mayor of a city has anything to do with the crime rate in the city. Crime causation is a highly disputed topic, but there is strong evidence that it has more to do with demographics than policing or anything else.
Jacksonville stood out on the Fox graphic because it was the only city headed by a Republican mayor, but what does that mean?
Because of several major political missteps, Curry is not as popular in the city right now. But blaming him for shootings and burglaries without more evidence than a graphic from a liberal newspaper may be leaping to conclusions.