Police dispute city's crime ranking

A police spokesman says Youngstown's crime statistics have improved this year.
YOUNGSTOWN -- City police are taking issue with a survey of 126 similar-size cities across the U.S. that shows Youngstown is ranked third in the list of most-dangerous cities for 2005.
Each year, Morgan Quitno Press, a private research and publishing company in Lawrence, Kan., compiles state and city crime statistics that it sells in publications.
The business looks at murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft for its crime categories.
Youngstown's homicide rate climbed by two Monday with the shooting deaths of a man and woman inside a Valley Street house on the East Side. So far this year, the city has recorded 25 homicides. There were 31 murders at this time last year.
At the crime scene on Valley Street, Capt. Kenneth Centorame, chief of detectives, was asked about the Morgan Quitno crime survey. He said he hadn't seen it but disagrees with Youngstown's "dangerous" ranking.
Mayor Jay Williams was not available Monday to comment on it.
"We have looked at the list compiled by Morgan Quitno; however we are not sure how they have arrived at their conclusions," said Detective Sgt. Rick Alli, police department spokesman. "Being well aware that our data is not favorable, we have instituted several different approaches in how we do policing to improve our statistics. As for their naming our city as dangerous, we do feel that this is not an accurate portrayal."
Alli said the data used is not current, and Youngstown statistics have improved this year.
"We are totally committed to improving the quality of life in Youngstown. More importantly, we must remember that numbers do not always tell the whole story," he said. "We are still confident that law-abiding citizens who do not have association with those whose lifestyle is a little more on the edge are as safe in Youngstown as in Brick Township."
In Morgan Quitno's overall ranking, with 371 cities surveyed, Youngstown ranked ninth in the most-dangerous category. St. Louis showed up as No. 1, with Cleveland ranked seventh.

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