Wednesday, September 20

Reality Theft: The Perception of Burglaries in Jacksonville

I get weekly offers from ADT, SafeTouch, Xfinity, and more, for security system installation and monitoring. My house came equipped with an alarm. I see SafeTouch ads every day when I watch my two hours of TV. I've even had the ADT guys show up at my house and ask if it was the cost or the fact that I'm not interested in protecting my family that kept me from buying their product. I told him I wasn't interested in protecting my family. But, in reality, I am interested in it. I'm not interested in scare tactics and negative perceptions dictating how I live, so are we safe here in Jacksonville? I used FBI crime statistics to see, and it's not really as bleak as those security salesmen might lead you to believe.

First off, I'll say this: I never locked my car while it was parked in my driveway in Milwaukee near the zoo. I'd often open the back door to realize I hadn't locked that, either. And I was even known to leave the garage door open all night. In Lenexa, Kansas, I'd often notice an unlatched patio door in the morning. We never had anything missing from either location. That said, I am more apt to lock doors here in Jacksonville, partially because I know there's more overall property crime in the zip code I'm in here than in my last two. But let's leave zips out of it for this article and just focus on broad statistical areas. Assuming you've found a neighborhood you like, how does the JAX metropolitan area compare to those of other metro areas when it comes to burglary?

Jacksonville's metropolitan statistical area includes the city as well as Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties. Because of Jacksonville taking up most of Duval County, it's often difficult to compare it to other cities, but metro areas often provide a truer sense of what it's like to live in an area. For example, crime in Milwaukee might look high, but I lived in the safest Milwaukee area (near the zoo), so it makes more sense to include all the suburban counties when looking at crime for where I lived compared to other cities. We currently live in one of the safest areas in Jacksonville, so it makes sense to compare in this way, at least for me.

When you take Jacksonville's metro area, there are about 553 burglaries per 100,000 residents (2015). Milwaukee is about 475. Kansas City is 560. No wonder I feel about as safe in my home here as I did elsewhere. Sure, JAX could do better, but it's not off the charts in any way.

The metro areas that have at least double the burglary rate of Jacksonville Florida include:
Alexandria, LA
Danville, IL
Hammond, LA
Lake Charles, LA
Monroe, LA
Pine Bluff, AR
Pueblo, CO
Sumter, SC

I assume there's something goofy about Louisiana, like lack of suburbs in metro areas. I've also seen that cities not listed (Santa Fe) are often even higher than these. While the list of metro areas with double the burglaries of Jacksonville may not be huge, the list of metro areas that simply have a higher rate is pretty substantial. So here it is, every US metro area with a higher burglary rate than Jacksonville, Florida. As I was going through the numbers, I'd say about half are worse and half are better. It either proves you don't need those alarm systems or that they are working.

Abilene, TX
Akron, OH
Albany, GA
Albuquerque, NM
Alexandria, LA
Amarillo, TX
Anchorage, AK
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL
Asheville, NC
Athens-Clarke County, GA
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
Bakersfield, CA
Baton Rouge, LA
Battle Creek, MI
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
Beckley, WV
Birmingham-Hoover, AL
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX
Brunswick, GA
Burlington, NC
Canton-Massillon, OH
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL
Charleston, WV
Chattanooga, TN-GA
Chico, CA
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
Cleveland, TN
Columbia, MO
Columbia, SC
Columbus, GA-AL
Columbus, OH
Corpus Christi, TX
Cumberland, MD-WV
Dalton, GA
Danville, IL
Dayton, OH
Decatur, AL
Decatur, IL
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI
Dothan, AL
Dubuque, IA
Duluth, MN-WI
El Centro, CA
Enid, OK
Flint, MI
Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL
Fort Smith, AR-OK
Fresno, CA
Gadsden, AL
Goldsboro, NC
Greensboro-High Point, NC
Greenville, NC
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS
Hammond, LA
Hattiesburg, MS
Houma-Thibodaux, LA
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
Huntsville, AL
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
Jackson, MS
Jackson, TN
Jacksonville, NC
Jonesboro, AR
Joplin, MO
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
Kansas City, MO-KS
Killeen-Temple, TX
Knoxville, TN
Kokomo, IN
Lafayette, LA
Lake Charles, LA
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
Las Cruces, NM
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
Lawton, OK
Lewiston, ID-WA
Lexington-Fayette, KY
Lima, OH
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR
Longview, TX
Longview, WA
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
Lubbock, TX
Macon-Bibb County, GA
Madera, CA
Mansfield, OH
Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Merced, CA
Mobile, AL
Modesto, CA
Monroe, LA
Montgomery, AL
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC
New Bern, NC
Ocean City, NJ
Odessa, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
Olympia-Tumwater, WA
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
Panama City, FL
Parkersburg-Vienna, WV
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Pine Bluff, AR
Pittsfield, MA
Pueblo, CO
Redding, CA
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
Rockford, IL
Rocky Mount, NC
Rome, GA
Salisbury, MD-DE
San Angelo, TX
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
Savannah, GA
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
Sebring, FL
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI
Spartanburg, SC
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA
Springfield, IL
Springfield, MO
Springfield, OH
St. Joseph, MO-KS
Stockton-Lodi, CA
Sumter, SC
Tallahassee, FL
Texarkana, TX-AR
Toledo, OH
Topeka, KS
Tucson, AZ
Tulsa, OK
Tuscaloosa, AL
Tyler, TX
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
Victoria, TX
Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ
Visalia-Porterville, CA
Waco, TX
Walla Walla, WA
Warner Robins, GA
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
Wichita Falls, TX
Wilmington, NC
Yakima, WA
Yuba City, CA
Yuma, AZ

I want to reiterate that this is burglary-only. JAX needs much more improvement in other property crime and violent crime occurrences. I'd also call your attention to certain cities NOT on this list, like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Remember, these stats are per 100,000 people, so it's the chance you'll get broken into. However, it's also not really delineating between home and business burglaries.

Some other numbers worth mentioning include those for family members in The Villages and Sheboygan, WI. The rate of burglary in The Villages is about 260 per 100,000, while Sheboygan is 160 (the lowest on the list I could find). Also, Jacksonville IS still among the worst in Florida as a whole in burglaries, so let's not pat ourselves on the back too much.And I know there were many more car break-ins here than where I came from, partially because everyone uses their garages as basements and driveways as garages.Our house also has no windows with a view of the garage and one total window to the side of the house, making monitoring our car out there more difficult, so we follow the 9pm routine.

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