Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Is your city safe or dangerous?...

Posted 4/24/18 (Tue)

There was a recent report by the National Council for Home Safety and Security placing West Fargo as the safest city in North Dakota in 2018.

This news got a lot of air time on the Fargo TV stations, primarily because on the other side of 45th Street, Fargo was only the seventh safest in the state.

The council, in its press release, said statistics were compiled from recent FBI crime reports, and the cities were ranked based on violent crime and property crime.

The report, released Feb. 20, listed Dickinson as the No. 2 safest community in the state.

Following are the rest: No. 3 - Williston; No. 4 - Minot; No. 5 - Grand Forks; No. 6 - Jamestown; No. 7 - Fargo; No. 8 - Bismarck and No. 9 - Mandan.

OK! Fair enough. Statistics will vary from year to year. It wasn’t too long ago that Williston and Dickinson were at the bottom of the scale and Bismarck and Mandan were at the top.

In that respect, we have to commend Williston and Dickinson both for their efforts in curbing crime.

But there seems to be a problem. Another list, of the most dangerous cities in North Dakota, doesn’t jive with the safest. In fact, it’s completely confusing.

This report comes from a website called Road Snacks. Its statistics are compiled from FBI reports and how many crimes are committed based on local population.

Fargo is the most dangerous, followed by Jamestown. No. 3 was Bismarck, Grand Forks was 4, Mandan 5, Grafton 6, Minot 7, Devils Lake 8, Valley City 9 and Williston 10.

This report was apparently compiled and released in January, so these numbers are for 2018.

So let me get this straight, Grand Forks is the fifth safest city in the state, but it’s also the fourth most dangerous. Jamestown is the sixth safest, yet it’s the second most dangerous.

Here is yet another report, from a website called Home Snacks, that works with communities under 10,000 population to see where they stand.

Just a clarification, but in the most dangerous report, Valley City, Grafton and Devils Lake, are all under 10,000 in population.

Anyway, according to this list, Hazen is the safest community in the state, followed by Carrington, Lincoln, Stanley and New Town.

Lisbon was sixth, Beulah seventh, Dickinson eighth, West Fargo ninth and Rugby 10th.

Another clarification, Dickinson and West Fargo easily exceed 10,000 in population.

Last year, Kenmare was the fifth safest community, but didn’t make the list in 2018. Edgeley wasn’t listed either, but neighboring LaMoure was ranked 23rd. Langdon and Cavalier didn’t make the list either, but Ellendale and Oakes did.

With this report, we can actually go a step further. Home Snacks rates the safest states also and North Dakota comes in 17th.

Most of us could probably accept that, seeing how New Hampshire is at the top, followed by Maine and Vermont. Beyond that, however, things get interesting.

New Jersey is the sixth safest state in the nation, Kentucky is 10th Minnesota is 11th, New York 13th and New Mexico is the most dangerous state at 50th, with Alaska coming in at 49th.

Instead of finishing this op-ed, I think I’ll sit here this afternoon and dream up my own list of safe and dangerous.

It certainly appears that is how these lists were compiled. They don’t really make a lot of sense, other than we can probably agree on Hazen and Carrington being among the safest communities.

I would place Valley City at a much higher number than it received, but I’m not sure how or why Lincoln made the list. Being a “suburb” of Bismarck, it gets a lot of spillover crime from the city of Bismarck.

The point of all this is, there are people who will pull up these Internet sites and automatically make the assumption that Grafton is safer than Valley City or New Jersey is safer than North Dakota.

There are no disclaimers or fine print to indicate this is bunk. It is, apparently the gospel to someone who reads it and knows nothing about North Dakota or its communities.

The Fargo TV stations were all over West Fargo being the safest. I would beg to differ and suggest that maybe we wait until the attorney general’s report comes out to get all wound up about these statistics.

We can put this into another perspective. There is no doubt, the most dangerous city in North Dakota is safer than the safest in New Jersey.