Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just the Facts, Ma'am

So, following up on yesterday's post, we chose the Paris style front door. But Cheri's question about security got me thinking, even though I feel safer in Pittsboro, NC than I do in Fremont, CA, what do the facts say?

That's about what I expected to see.

Pittsboro has lower crime rates when compared to the state of North Carolina as a whole. But what about compared to Fremont, where we currently live.

What!!!??? We're 3x more likely to be murdered in Pittsboro!

Okay. I soooo wasn't expecting to see such a stark difference in murder risk. I have to think the statistics are skewed due to small sample sizes. Pittsboro has a population of roughly 3,000, while Fremont's population is around 205,000.

Anyhow, Scoob and I were both stunned by the graph, so I decided to look up the actual numbers—Pittsboro had 1 murder in 2009 and Fremont had 2. (Only 2? That so does not jibe with all the shootings we hear about. I guess they weren't fatal shootings.) I think this chart has divided Fremont's population number by Pittsboro's and used that number (about 68) to factor the crime statistics. Which isn't to say there aren't risks in Pittsboro, just that they're vastly overstated on this graph. (Which also leads me to believe they may be overstated on the first graph as well.)

So, for S&G, and because I'm a graph geek, I decided to try this again using the nearest large cities—Raleigh (about 40 miles from Pittsboro) and Oakland (about 30 miles from Fremont). (I know, I know. It doesn't seem fair—almost any city is going to come out smelling like roses when it's compared to Oakland. But this is our reality and I drive through Oakland every day on my way to and from work.)

Okay. That's making me feel better.

Now, aside from where the National Median lies, this is more in line with what I was expecting to see. Raleigh and Oakland have similar population sizes—405,000 and 409,000, respectively.

Anyhow, this so wasn't what I was planning on posting about today, but sometimes these things take on a life of their own.

Want to do the same comparisons? I used Just type in the name of the city or use the zip code, scroll to the bottom of the results page and you should see a link for crime statistics.

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