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How safe are the U.S's safest cities?

by Blake Conrad


Posted on March 01, 2017 at 9:00 AM


Figure 1

Figure 2

In the United States, media has a great deal of influence on the people it has contact with. Over time the media has gained both positive and negative report regarding their intuitions. As such, for many years sources such as the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, NBC News, and USA Today all have their own takes on the safest and least safe cities in the United States. The research for today's discussion focuses on the question: “How faithful is the information the media is giving us?”

After receiving an FBI Crime Dataset with crime from 1979 to 2014, Blake used data mining analysis to determine some crime patterns in the data. After viewing sources regarding the top 10 best cities and top 10 worst cities , the goal involved confirming if the pattern findings were correct. After Blake applied various data mining techniques including the K-means algorithm on the data set, Figure 3 shows the analysis of a high dimensional crime pattern being found when reduced to a geometrically interpretable dimension. With a confirmed algorithm showing results that make sense, the analysis of how the best cities and worst cities crime patterns are grouped over time.

Figure 3


The following tables show some of the cities that the algorithms are dealing with and how they rank before they are applied into the algorithm over time. As stated in the article titled Best places to live and 50 worst cities to live, the following tables show the best and worst 10 cities to live in the U.S:

Best Cities State Code
COLUMBIA 19
EDEN PRAIRIE 22
PLANO 42
WEST DES MOINES 14
PARSIPPANY TROY HILLS 29
HIGHLANDS RANCH 5
CLARKSTOWN 5
WESTON 9
BEAVERTON 36
NAPERVILLE 12
Worst Cities State Code
MIAMI 9
DETROIT 21
PATERSON 29
HAWTHORNE 4
FALL RIVER 20
BIRMINGHAM 1
MEMPHIS 41
FLINT 21
CLEVELAND 34
GARY 13


Figure 4 examines the overlap between the designated clustering of each of the top 10 cities. It shows us that out of the (6/7) cities cluster in the same group, (5/6) of those had above 55% similarity. Even further analysis shows that (3/6) had above 84% similarity. This shows that amongst the majority of all cities, both the best and the worst, over half of those cities had 84% matching crime patterns.

Figures 4


The analysis has shown that the best cities and the worst cities have a significant amount of overlap when clustered together. An interesting study would be to determine how much the media has displayed this information in the past, or at the very least, how often the media has taken cities off of the limelight of being best and actually grouped them into the worst. With a global understanding that crime in general has gone down, we don't have good statistics to determine that certain cities crime patterns have gotten better or worse. An example of a good situation would be if a city's population goes up while crime goes down, and this certainly can be the case for many cities accross the globe, but is not always the case. As we can see from the previous analysis, some smaller and general more well known safe cities can find themselves with quite malicious crime patterns rivaling some of the worst cities. With a better understanding of how cities are grouped over time, the only question left standing is how safe are the U.S's safest cities?






Leave a Comment:


Anonymous01 March 05, 2017 at 9:31 PM

This is a really good post, I like the analysis. It makes you wonder about why the news is always so negative and what they are really feeding us sometimes.

Johnny_Bananas March 06, 2017 at 10:17 AM

Agreed with Anonymous, this is good analysis, but how can you question the news? Isn't that always true?

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