CAMDEN, New Jersey (AP)—For the second year in a row this destitute city of Camden, New Jersey, has been named the nation’s most dangerous, according to a company’s annual ranking based on crime statistics.
Last year, the distinction seemed to hurt city boosters’ feelings more than it harmed revitalization efforts. This time, city leaders are offended by the ranking, calling it unfair.
“We’re doing so many nice things now. It’s unfortunate that somebody always wants to bad-mouth Camden,” Mayor Gwendolyn Faison said.
The city took the top spot last year from Detroit, which remained No. 2 in the most dangerous city rankings, to be released Monday by Morgan Quitno Press.
The Lawrence, Kansas-based company publishes “City Crime Rankings,” an annual reference book.
Listed as the most dangerous cities are: Camden, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Flint, Michigan; Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Gary, Indiana; Birmingham, Alabama.
At the other end of the scale, the safest are named as: Newton, Massachusetts; Clarkstown, New York; Amherst, New York; Mission Viejo, California; Brick Township, New Jersey; Troy, Michigan; Thousand Oaks, California; Round Rock, Texas; Lake Forest, California; Cary, North Carolina.
Some residents say their neighborhoods feel a bit safer.
“I haven’t heard that many gunshots,” said Gracy Muniz, 22, a mother of three who lives in North Camden.
Critics note that Morgan Quitno’s ranking is based on data from last year, when the city of 80,000 averaged a murder a week. Murders from January through October were down by 45 percent compared with the same period in 2004.
Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno, said Friday that while the numbers may not be perfect, they are one of the only ways to compare crime in different cities.
An quick Internet search provides a racial breakdown of the most dangerous cities:
Camden, NJ – 53.35% Black, 16.84% White, 38.82% Hispanic
Detroit, MI – 81.55% Black, 12.26% White, 4.96% Hispanic
St. Louis, MO – 51.20% Black, 43.85% White, 1.92%, Hispanic
Flint, MI – 53.27% Black, 41.39% White, 2.99% Hispanic
Richmond, VA – 57.19% Black, 38.3% White, 2.57% Hispanic
Baltimore, MD – 64.3% Black, 31.6% White, 1.7% Hispanic
Atlanta, GA – 61.39% Black, 33.22% White, 4.49% Hispanic
New Orleans, LA – 67.25% Black, 28.05% White, 3.06%
Gary, IN – 84.03% Black, 11.92% White, 4.93% Hispanic
Birmingham, AL – 73.46% Black, 24.07% White, 1.55% Hispanic
And the safest:
Newton, MA – 88.07% White, 1.97% Black