Despite a seemingly endless procession of media reports about drive-by shootings, home invasions and robberies in the Salt Lake area, it appears crime in Salt Lake took a slight downturn in 2008.
On November 23rd, 2009, CQ Press released their annual crime report, entitled "City Crime Rankings 2009-2010", which ranks the most dangerous cities in the United States based upon a composite of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. The methodology is described in more detail HERE. Read CQ Press' explanatory press release HERE. There is always a one-year lag time, so the report is for 2008. It continues to show a distinct split between Salt Lake City and its suburbs. But it also shows that Salt Lake City, as well as West Valley City and Ogden, actually became somewhat safer in 2008, while the Salt Lake suburbs became slightly more dangerous. Utah Valley remained consistently safe. Ratings for the 2006 year were previously discussed HERE, and 2007 ratings HERE.
The complete list of the 393 cities ranked can be viewed HERE; population threshold is 75,000 or more. Utah cities shown below, along with rankings from previous years for comparison:
1. Salt Lake City - 89th in 2008, 69th in 2007, 108th in 2006, 125th in 2005.
2. West Valley City - 184th in 2008, 146th in 2007, 201st in 2006, 159th in 2005.
3. Ogden - 198th in 2008, 170th in 2007, 198th in 2006, 190th in 2005.
4. West Jordan - 329th in 2008, 301st in 2007, 323rd in 2006, not rated in 2005.
5. Sandy - 341st in 2008, 319th in 2007, 345th in 2006, 346th in 2005.
6. Provo - 359th in 2008, 352nd in 2007, 340th in 2006, 293rd in 2005.
7. Orem - 369th in 2008, 366th in 2007, 367th in 2006, 360th in 2005.
It should be noted that not all areas of Salt Lake City are equally subject to crime. The greatest risk of crime is in the downtown area, as well as certain parts of the west side (Glendale, Poplar Grove, and Rose Park). Salt Lake City remains a good place to live, particularly if you like urban living, although the suburbs are more family-oriented.
Those who don't live in a city of 75,000 or more are not completely out of luck. CQ Press also ranked 332 metro areas. Here are Utah's five metro areas:
1. Salt Lake Metro (Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele Counties): 154th in 2008, 121st in 2007.
2. Ogden-Clearfield Metro (Davis, Morgan, and Weber Counties): 304th in 2008, 298th in 2007.
3. St. George Metro (Washington County): 311th in 2008, 307th in 2007.
4. Provo-Orem Metro (Utah and Juab Counties): 325th in 2008, 334th in 2007.
5. Logan Metro (Cache County UT and Franklin County ID): 328th in 2008, 338th in 2007.
CQ Press also ranks the states. They rank Utah the 17th safest state in the country in 2008, a drop of four places from its ranking of 13th in 2007. Read state rankings HERE.
CQ Press also issues this caveat. Their annual rankings of crime in cities, states, and metropolitan areas are considered by some in the law enforcement community as controversial. The FBI, police, and many criminologists caution against rankings according to crime rates. They correctly point out that crime levels are affected by many different factors, such as population density, composition of the population (particularly the concentration of youth), climate, economic conditions, strength of local law enforcement agencies, citizens' attitudes toward crime, cultural factors, education levels, ethnic/racial diversity, and crime reporting practices of citizens and family cohesiveness. Accordingly, crime rankings often are deemed “simplistic” or “incomplete.”