By JD Miller, CPA
If you live in Vallejo, you’re actually living in one of the safest cities in California.
A Mark Twain quotes goes like this: “Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure.”
What this means is that you should read anything using statistics very carefully. You can find statistics to prove almost anything. You should also pay careful attention to anything you read when statistics are used. They may not be telling you what the author may be telling you.
A good example is an article in the Times Herald on December 19, 2014 headlined New list puts Vallejo among the state’s most dangerous places.
The article was reporting on a report from Movoto Real Estate. Apparently, the FBI ranked Vallejo as the 6th most dangerous city (in California) based on crime statistics according to SFList.
However, the statistics quoted towards the end of the article support the fact that Vallejo is among the safest cities. Here are those statistics.
SFList says there are eight violent crimes per 61,000 residents in Vallejo, compared to Oakland’s 19 per 77,000 and Fairfield’s four for every 59,000. The state average is three violent crimes for every nearly 4,000 residents, according to the FBI.
Being a numbers guy (I’m a CPA.), these statistics struck me as very strange. Let me explain.
According to the FBI, the there are three violent crimes on average for every 4,000 residents in California. Said differently, there are 45 violent crimes for every 61,000 residents in California.
SFList reports that there are eight violent crimes per 61,000 residents in Vallejo.
The last time I checked, 8 is less than 45. As you know, it takes a lot of cities with more than 45 violent crimes to bring the average up to 45.
Vallejo must be among the safest cities in California because the number of violent crimes, 8 is far below the state average of 45.
Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.