Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The troublemakers are back at work: Is City of Lake Worth one of the “12 Most Dangerous Places in Florida”?

Drum roll, please!

No. It’s not. Completely false. Bogus. Not even close to the truth.

This is a rumor spread around every now and then. Of course, there will always be some who will fall for it. What’s interesting now is this “12 Most Dangerous List” comes up again (see below) as West Palm Beach is experiencing an ongoing tragedy of gun violence, now numbering 21 homicides.

West Palm Beach is not on the list.

[After reading the blog post below, return and click on this link to learn more about, “Crime, the perception of crime, and ‘Revitalizing Southeast Florida’s Urban Core’ along I-95, FEC and CSX.” Crime is not a Lake Worth issue. It’s a regional one. A concept lost on many in the press and news media.]

Yes. There is crime in the City of Lake Worth. And if you’ve been paying any attention to the news in Palm Beach County there is crime in other cities as well. However, the public is not served when the media misrepresents, misreports, and distorts important issues such as crime like The Palm Beach Post did. Read more about that below.

For example, not long after Kevin Thompson became the Post beat reporter for the City of Lake Worth he fell for this nonsense from NeighborhoodScout and Nerd Wallet: both data aggregation sites using just Zip Codes and not municipal borders.

An excerpt from Thompson’s original article two years ago:

NeighborhoodScout recently listed the 10 most dangerous cities in the state, with Lake Worth coming in at — drum roll, please! — No. 4. . . .

Complete utter nonsense in the Post. Here’s another one from Thompson:

In a recent Nerd Wallet survey, the city was ranked as one of the best in Florida for young families. Well, according to another survey, those families may want to stay inside and lock their doors.

So very charming, isn’t it, from the beat reporter at the Post?

Now back to NeighborhoodScout. This a perfect example of data collection and the principle of Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO). Lake Worth is only 6 square miles but look at what they include: vast areas of unincorporated PBC:

Below this image/caption see the Palm Beach County Zip Code map.
The City of Lake Worth is 6 square miles (shaded light blue, center-right side in image). NeighborhoodScout included all the other shaded areas inaccurately as “Lake Worth”.

 Map courtesy of Palm Beach County government.
A helpful tool for the media and press.
The area in white between the cities of Greenacres and Lake Worth is unincorporated PBC and the Lake Worth Corridor”.

Andrew Schiller, the CEO of NeighborhoodScout in 2015, wrote this interesting item:

Developing a reliable measure of a city’s safety, especially if you’re comparing them, requires a full count of the total number and types of violent crimes in each city, and getting the cities on a level playing field for comparison.

Good point.

Since the data was proven flawed, inaccurate, and misleading then why does the Post, a “newspaper of record”, still have this story on their website? Here’s an excerpt:

LAKE WORTH — The numbers aren’t pretty.
     With a crime rate of 71 per one thousand residents, Lake Worth (the city and its suburban surroundings) has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to communities of all sizes, according to the real estate website, NeighborhoodScout.com.

Once again, completely false.

Then Victoria Winkler, using the data from NeighborhoodScout in the blog OnlyInYourState, used the flawed data to rank Lake Worth as the 4th most dangerous city in Florida. Just ahead of Miami! That city with a population of 400,000 came in at #5.

The City of Lake Worth’s population is barely 40,000.

Lake Worth at #4? Totally bogus.
“[E]ven more upsetting” is a newspaper not verifying the accuracy of data on crime.

And since when are sites like NeighborhoodScout, Nerd Wallet, and OnlyInYourState considered legitimate sources in The Palm Beach Post, a “newspaper of record”?

Here’s another map of Central Palm Beach County.
Just a reminder — the areas in white are unincorporated — not municipalities.
Just trying to help.

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