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Falls sees tiny decrease in violent crime: Remains dangerous place



In his State of the City address last week Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster claimed that violent crime was down by 5.4 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.

Will the slight dip in the rate of violent crime be enough to get the Falls off of the numerous lists of most dangerous cities both in New York and all of America?

One recent  study, released by the website, ranked municipalities with populations above 25,000 across the country. Using crime data collected by the FBI from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies, the analysis looked at seven offenses including both violent and property offenses. Violent crimes range from homicide and rape to armed robbery, and aggravated assault.

Niagara Falls came in at Number 53, with a bullet. The chances of you becoming the victim of a violent crime here were one in 81 during 2014, the report concluded.

Dyster’s Herculean efforts at crime fighting have bettered those odds, but not by much. If the 5.4 percent figure he used in his State of the City address is correct – and there is no way to verify it – your chances of being a victim of violent crime are now one in 85.

That’s right, one out of every 85 people in the city will be murdered, raped, robbed at gunpoint or severely beaten in Niagara Falls during 2016, despite Dyster’s boasting and reassurances that the crime problem is no worse here than it is anywhere else.

A second study, released by the popular internet site MyLife, concluded Niagara Falls is the most dangerous city in the state of New York. Researchers examined five sets of data, including the number of law enforcement officers per capita, violent crimes per capita, property crimes per capita, the number of registered sex offenders per capita and the percentage of the population enrolled in health care.

The results of the MyLife study were backed up in a separate report published last July by the website RoadSnacks, which also found the Falls to be the most dangerous place in the state.

“While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion,” the RoadSnacks editors wrote, explaining their methodology. “Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.”

The study found that the violent crime rate in Niagara Falls was the fourth highest in the state and that the property crime rate was the second highest. Together, those two rankings combined to make the city the most dangerous place in the state.

Using a slightly different methodology, the real estate website Movoto ranked Niagara Falls as the fourth most dangerous place in the state, but the champion internet information site was Neighborhood Scout, which provides no ranking but a lot of cold hard data.

According to Neighborhood Scout, one out of every 67 people in Niagara Falls would be victimized by either a violent or property crime last year, meaning that Dyster’s law and order measures lessened the odds to just over one in 70.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report for last year won’t be released until September, so there’s no way of verifying whether or not Dyster’s alleged 5.4 percent drop in violent crime is even true.

If it is, it represents a real baby step towards making the streets safer in what was previously the fourth most violent municipality in all of New York.

Little Italy has seen an increase in crime.


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