Baltimore ranked 6th-most-dangerous city

November 22, 2005|By JOHN FRITZE | JOHN FRITZE,SUN REPORTER

Baltimore is the sixth-most-dangerous city in the country - worse than Atlanta, Washington and Gary, Ind. - and the second-most dangerous of the nation's largest cities, according to an annual ranking released yesterday.

Despite a reduction in crime in recent years, Baltimore rose five positions from the 11th-most- dangerous city last year, according to the report by Morgan Quitno Press of Lawrence, Kan. The new rankings are based on 2004 FBI crime data.

City Hall officials quickly sought a silver lining in the deluge of negative data as they repeated a familiar message that crime is down nearly 40 percent since 1999.

"The numbers also show that we are making strides in reducing violent crime," said Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin O'Malley. "We continue to remain focused on reducing crime here in Baltimore."

Baltimore's crime has already become an issue in Maryland's race for governor, which O'Malley entered in September. Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, also a Democratic candidate for governor, issued a statement yesterday through his campaign that said he was disheartened by the survey.

Baltimore ranked sixth out of 369 cities - more dangerous than Miami, Philadelphia and New York. When compared to cities with a population of 500,000 or more, Baltimore ranked second, behind only Detroit.

Camden, N.J., topped the list of dangerous cities, and, according to the report, Newton, Mass., was the safest city in the country.

Criminal justice scientists have often criticized the company's rankings as overly simplistic and statistically shaky. They do not place data in the context of population density, economic conditions and other factors.

Cities are measured in six crime categories - murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft - and are compared to a national average.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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