But crime statistics are not perception.
The Mayor, and the Chief of Police, both have spoken of the reduced crime rates as evidence that public safety is not to be a concern. A little research led to this info. All of the information is available at the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center web site.
The Mayor said, at the Town Hall Meeting on Dartmouth Avenue, to compare current crime rates with past rates. He was elected in 2002, but, oddly enough, Bessemer did not report its crimes to the state that year, or the year before or the year after. Hmmm. That in itself is worth investigation.
So, let's compare to 2000, the last year before the mayor was elected that we have stats for, to 2008, the last year for which statistics are available. We actually went back to 1991, just for fun, but for our comparison, we use 2000. Handy little chart for the crimes that the state keep stats on...
Between 2000 and 2008 Homicide, Assaults and Theft are down. Those are the good stats.
But Rape (21 up to 27), Robbery (174 to 193), Burglary (802 to 1046) and Motor Vehicle Theft (234 to 278) are up from 2000 to 2008.
If you start at 2004, the first year after the election of the current mayor that we have statistics for, we find that Murder, Rape, Assault, Burglary and Theft are all up in 2008, and the other two categories, Robbery and Motor Vehicle theft are down by just 4 and 2 respectively.
So let's not brag too much about decreased crime rates.
But when a guy that's had a couple of semesters of statistics and has a degree in a field that requires a whole bunch of statistics gets on a site with so much information, a little deeper digging is bound to occur.
It did. But you will be held in suspense because it's I'm still working on it. You will probably see it in my column next week in the Western Tribune.
Here is Corey John, of Toronto (where gays can marry), who was assaulted this month.
"My back was turned, I did not see him coming and he hit me with a beer bottle," says John. "I just felt the blood gushing down my face, [said] 'You hit me, dude,' and they all began running up an alley."