The City of Rock Hill is attempting to set the record straight about a real estate firm’s claims that Rock Hill is among the top 20 most dangerous small cities in the nation.
The Movato Real Estate group says its rankings, released earlier this year, are based on 2012 data by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rock Hill comes in as 18th on the list.
But city spokeswoman Katie Quinn said the company’s methodology quickly unravels.
“As a real estate company, Movato is concerned with driving traffic to its website in order to sell homes. Their blog, which includes numerous articles “ranking” cities for anything from most boring to snobbiest, is used as a way to drive visitors to their site for marketing purposes,” Quinn said. “While these lists can be entertaining, we believe it is irresponsible to report the study as authoritative and statistically significant.”
The FBI discourages the use of its own data in ranking of law enforcement agencies and the municipalities served, citing the occurrence of crime as a “sociological phenomenon influenced by a variety of factors” and not as an accurate “measurement of law enforcement effectiveness.”
Quinn said Movato’s rankings artificially inflated crime data when adjusting for populations smaller than 100,000. The number of homicides and violent crimes were adjusted nearly 150 percent to account for the city’s population of 69,103.
“Implying people have an equal “chance” of becoming a victim of a crime is not accurate, Quinn said. “Those involved in high risk behavior, such as drugs or gang activity, are more likely to become a victim than the average Rock Hill citizen or someone visiting our community.”
In recent years, the city’s police department has made several high-profile arrests, including members of rival street gangs believed to have been responsible for a series of gang-on-gang violence. In 2013, the city had half the number of homicides — four — as were reported in 2012, the year in which the Movato rankings were used.
In 2013, the Rock Hill Police Department and York County Sheriff’s Office launched a joint effort with area hotel and motel owners to open a line of communication concerning suspicious activity. In the first two months of its operation, information gleaned from the system led to the arrest of three individuals. The system, dubbed Rock Hill-York County CONNECT, has since been extended to apartment managers.