LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A new publication on crime rates for American cities lists Longview in the top third of all cities for crime rate. But the statistical data, and, more importantly, how it was compiled, has police and citizens in Longview questioning how it makes the city look.
At number 66 Longview is just ahead of Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the list, Longview has the third highest crime rate in Texas, behind Dallas and Houston.
"I'm not buying that because I've been here all my life and I don't feel Longview has the third highest crime rate from Dallas and Houston and Longview," said Angela Woods.
But Longview police say the way the statistics were put together, unfairly represents the crime rate within the city limits and unfairly represents the progress that they feel they've made.
"They take the data the FBI collects about crimes that occur in the community and they compile it and condense it down to one number using a mathematical formula," explained Kevin Brownlee. "That mathematical formula is not scientific. CQ Press is in this to sell books. They sell books for $65 a copy. Our crime in 2007 was down one percent from 2008."
The publication lists Longview as a metro area, including Gregg, Upshur and Rusk counties, and all of their crime stats are averaged in. Brownlee says the system is misleading.
"They're reducing crime in every community across America, every crime that occurs in that community, to one number," he said.
Average citizens say its a gross misrepresentation.
"That's crazy," said Traci Knight, a store manager in Longview. "Oh, you'd see it all over. There'd be murders and robberies. They'd be everywhere."
"If they can create a little bit of panic or concern, they can sell a lot more books," said Brownlee. "It's fair to say its not fair."
We talked with Mayor Jay Dean who said the city has fought with CQ Press for the last three years over their unfair ranking of Longview crime stats.
For city by city crime statistics, Longview police say citizens should go to the FBI web site for listings free of charge.