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You may have seen the headlines on Facebook or other social media sites, but is Springfield really the most dangerous city in America? What are we doing to make sure our city’s reputation isn’t tarnished, and most importantly, how do rankings like these impact things like economic development and talent attraction?
First and foremost, crime is a serious issue in our community. There is no doubt about it.
Businesses can be directly impacted as the victims of theft or burglary and indirectly impacted by the challenges that crime poses for retaining and recruiting talented professionals. That’s why we, as a Chamber, are committed to working with our public sector partners to find solutions that will mitigate the challenges that businesses and families face in relation to this issue.
According to the most recent Quarterly Public Safety Report published by the Springfield Police Department, crime overall is down 19% from this time last year. This is in part due to a 23% decrease in crimes against property. This includes burglary, larceny/theft and stolen vehicles. On a more concerning note, there was a 28% total increase in crimes against persons, which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
At the same time, we also have to take a critical look at the data and methodology used to back headlines like “10 Most Dangerous Cities” or “Worst Places to Raise a Family.” A few of our local news outlets have already done a great job taking a deeper dive into specific studies, and they found as we have that often these articles are bait to lure traffic to a particular website.
The fact of the matter is that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, which is where most of the data used by these studies comes from, is only useful for comparing a city to itself. In fact, the FBI specifically cautions against using the Uniform Crime Report to compare locations because there are so many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place.
With this in mind, we would like to offer up some solutions for how you can help do something about crime in our community.
What can the business community do about crime?
In the last year, the Springfield Police have ramped up various efforts to improve public safety, including implementing a Business Watch Program. Similar to Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch enables businesses to take an active role in preventing criminal activity on their properties through information sharing, raising awareness and learning how to identify and recognize criminal activities. In addition, the Springfield Police Department can help businesses prevent crime through CPTED, a crime prevention philosophy that employs physical design features that discourage crime. Businesses can learn more about these two programs by contacting the SPD Crime Prevention Unit at (417)874-2113.
What can we do to prevent Springfield from earning a negative reputation?
There are a number of reputable resources available that businesses and human resources departments can use when fielding questions about the Springfield Community.