Bee on KJ vs Fargo on crime

An interesting front page piece in the Bee today contrasting KJ’s view of crime in our fair city with Comrade Fargo’s. And I think it dispels any myths out there about the Bee’s balance on KJ vs Fargo.

To hear Kevin Johnson tell it, Sacramento is a violent place.

But to hear Heather Fargo tell it: Which city is Sacramento again? Oh right. And you say I’m the whatchacallit? Mayor?

Fargo initially questioned Johnson’s [crime] figures. But she now says Police Chief Rick Braziel has confirmed they are correct.

What figures are those?

At every public appearance, Johnson recites a grim list of statistics. He says violent crime is up 55 percent and assaults up 74 percent since Fargo took office in 2001.

You know what else says that, is the numbers themselves. Oh but the number of actual crimes lacks whatchacallit, nuance:

But Sacramento’s crime picture is more nuanced than Johnson’s pronouncements suggest. … While the number of violent crimes increased 55 percent between 2001 and 2007, the violent crime rate – considered by law enforcement to be a more accurate measure – rose 38 percent, figures show. The number of assaults has risen 74 percent since 2001, but the rate is up 54 percent.

Notwithstanding the probable logical error of comparing the rate with the number of crimes (I say probable because my hunch is that this is a bad way to look at statistics, but I’m not sure), should we really be reassured that increase in the crime rate is 17% lower than the increase in actual crimes? It is still up 38%. That’s a pretty bad apple, even compared to the hopeful orange of the crime rate.

The Bee does go on to point out that crime rates and overall crimes have been down since 2006, and I definitely do not want to take away from that stat. If this is indeed a trend that continues, then that says a lot about what our city leaders have been doing on crime.

And what have they been doing, exactly? This is what I think people need to hear from Fargo herself. Because Johnson’s plans call for a lot of spending:

His goals include adding 200 police officers on the streets; implementing a zero-tolerance plan on regional transit that bars repeat criminals from the system; holding summits among gang members, police and mediators; and expanding after-school programs to combat truancy.

Noble goals, Fargo says, but there’s “no way we’re getting to it in this budget”–the city is still running a $58 million shortfall. I’m sure she can cite lots of other things she has done that have led to the 10% dip in violent crimes the last few years. Has she been steering immigrants away, perhaps?

(On a serious note on that issue though, I think commenter Turty Squip was on to something: Can we look at the rate of new immigrants moving to the area since 2006 and then examine whether immigration is actually helping the crime rate?)

I also find it odd that the Bee chose this article not to quote itself, specifically: Ryan Lillis decided not to quote Ryan Lillis on the growth in crime through 2006. I am only being 72% serious with that.

Joe Sacramento has a great post on this story too.

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

3 thoughts on “Bee on KJ vs Fargo on crime”

  1. I think it’s pretty pitiful to use a $58 million budget shortfall to explain whey a city can’t afford adequate crime prevention. A budget doesn’t just mysteriously come down on us from nowhere, it’s the direct responsibility of city managers.


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