Saturday, December 1, 2018

Is our City of Lake Worth one of the “Most Dangerous Places in Florida”?

Drum roll, please!

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

[Please Note: At the end of this blog post is PBSO Cpt. Todd Baer’s response to the nonsense from an inaptly named website called ‘Financial Hub’, just another data aggregation site using Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO), just like NeighborhoodScout, NerdWallet, and OnlyInYourState, the latest nonsense about ‘crime’ in our City and ‘data’, hard to believe but true, a beat reporter from The Palm Beach Post actually relied on for ‘facts’ about crime.]

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 a reporter from the Post did.

Despite all the facts to the contrary, the myth persists about our City of Lake Worth being one of the most dangerous municipalities in Florida. And why does this myth persist? It’s because of ‘news’, for example, published in The Palm Beach Post and other irresponsible news outlets as you’ll read about below.

That’s why after all these years the City is considering changing its name to “Lake Worth Beach”. It’s the one certain way, over time, we’ll reclaim our image after all these years of being bashed and maligned. Stay tuned. Because it’s a very real possibility renaming this City to become Lake Worth Beach could be put before the voters by referendum on March 12th, 2019.

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

An excerpt from Thompson’s original article
three 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,

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!

Miami, with a population of 400,000 came in
at #5. The City of Lake Worth’s population
is less than 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 websites 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.

A reminder: the areas in white are unincorporated, not municipalities. Just trying to help.

From District 14 PBSO Cpt. Baer, responding to the so-called ‘news’ from another in a long string of data-aggregation sites using GIGO, incomplete and misleading data, and more likely that not, relying on zip codes as well:

No, it is not very accurate. The most telling issue is that they are using Wikipedia as their source.

and. . .

     Not sure what they mean by “attacks”. They mention residents having a 1 in 76 chance of being robbed. I can tell you from reading the reports every day, our population of illegals [undocumented aliens] are our robbery victims the overwhelming majority of the time.
     The second most victims have been those involved in drugs and/or prostitution. It is rare for anyone else to be robbed. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

     Regards, Captain Todd Baer, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Commander – District 14 – City of Lake Worth.