Last night, newly elected councilwoman Diane Dixon sent out a Wildly Misleading Letter to her mass email list. This email contained all kinds of deceiving information on crime.
There are two major claims in the letter, but there is also an underlying deception that I will clear up afterwards. Let’s take care of the two headlining dubious claims, first:
1) CLAIM: “Area 1 (basically the Peninsula and Lido Island) led the city with a 26% increase in violent crimes (such as rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) last year.”
TRUTH: Every year fluctuates, but take a look at our five-year crimeroll:
Now, nobody is disputing that these are awful, despicable, and reprehensible crimes, but the only “increase in crime” over the last 5 years is if we compare our SECOND LOWEST year (last year) to our LOWEST year (the year before). As you can plainly see, there is quite simply no “crime wave” on the peninsula– we had 8 more crimes last year in all three of these categories, combined– or an average of one more every 1.5 months– and that’s if you’re comparing it to the lowest-violent-crime year in Newport’s history. Don’t let Dixon dupe you on this one.
2) CLAIM: The email states that Area 1 led the city in arrests with 1,174 last year and compares it to Area 4 (Corona del Mar and Newport Coast) which she claims has 53% of the city’s population, yet only had 269 arrests.
TRUTH: There is one key bit of information that is being conveniently left out here, though: Balboa Peninsula has over 10,000,000 visitors per year on its beaches. CdM+Newport Coast combined are mostly residential communities totaling about 40,000 people– less than half of the on-beach population in Balboa during the summer weekends. Don’t let Dixon dupe you.
TRUTH: Over the past five years, the Peninsula has seen a 60.8% decrease in robberies, which is also shown in the police reports.
TRUTH: Even by their own report, the NBPD is showing a 21.4% decrease in crime on the Peninsula over the past five years– with last year being the lowest crime rate EVER in Newport’s history.
Now let’s address the complete issue of crime stats, in their entirety: Want to see the real crime stats in their entirety so you can make an informed decision? Ask no more, because I compiled them for you for the last 5 years, along with the corresponding percentage-differences, compared to the year 2014:
All data sourced from the NBPD, here: http://www.nbpd.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=2721
Take note that the total violent crime increased by EIGHT incidents last year over the year before. EIGHT. Dixon is touting that as a 26% increase. That is ONE incident every 1.5 months.
As you can see, we are dropping in almost every single category, year after year. Those which we don’t drop in are exceptionally minor in increases (we had 500% more mail theft last year than in 2010… but we only had 5 incidents).
Do you feel duped by Dixon yet? I do.
Look at the numbers for yourself. Absorb them. Don’t be misled by someone using percentages to compare incident numbers which tally a total of eight incidents per year.
We don’t need to be spending $800,000 per year for four more police to combat eight cases per year– coming off of a FLUKE year, by all reasonable measures.
This is far from the first time that Dixon has attempted to mislead the public using absurd stats, but this is still absurd, and so was her email. She is either intentionally attempting to mislead you, or she is unable to read and comprehend statistics… You decide.