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EDITORIAL: What’s more dangerous: crime statistics or the crimes themselves?

Last month Maclean’s ranked Port Alberni 19th among the most dangerous places in Canada

Last month Maclean’s ranked Port Alberni 19th among the most dangerous places in Canada.

The dubious declaration, based on a cross-section of community crime statistics, stings even though it was published nearly a month ago. Port Alberni is still hurting from a similar declaration as “worst place to live,” a groundless insult by MoneySense, which did not have the sense to check facts. It’s a claim repeated in other online media organizations and remains prominent on web searches four years later.

Those of us who live in the community and know better quickly jumped on the sarcasm bus with ‘worst place to live’ comparisons, and a tourism campaign was even built around it.

With more than its share of socio-economic challenges in the last 30 years, this city has to forever fight to overcome its damaged reputation as it struggles for renewal.

And now http://www.macleans.ca/canadas-most-dangerous-places/. Maclean’s probably figures it’s doing us a favour, alerting readers to the ever-present danger that surrounds us. ‘Don’t go here because it’s a helluva lot more dangerous than, say, Toronto at No. 124.’

We accept the importance of staying on top of crime and can’t speak for anyone else’s sense of security, but the crime rate has fallen by 25 per cent—despite Port Alberni RCMP’s chief of police Insp. Brian Hunter asserting that property crime is up 52 percent in the first quarter of 2018. A selective reading of a narrow set of stats shouldn’t be exploited as click bait by ‘Canada’s national newsmagazine.’

They compound the insult by declaring small town Canada is more dangerous than metropolis. Unless they’re imprisoned in a glass tower in Toronto, most Canadians must know that this is a skewed view of the country.

— Alberni Valley News

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