You may not think so if you were the victim of one of the 1,743 crimes reported last year, but Albany turns out to be among the 100 safest cities in the United States. At least that’s what the people at Reviews.com concluded based on a study of crime statistics published by the FBI.
Reviews.com is in business rating consumer goods and services, everything from banks to kitchen knives and toothpaste. But it also posted a report it calls “2019 Safest Cities in the U.S.”
The organization says it compared the number of reported property and violent crimes in 454 cities with a population of 50,000 or more. Then it calculated a combined score for each city, along with the likelihood of becoming a victim.
There are 672 U.S. cities above 50,000 population, and at first it looked as though the comparison covered only cities between 50,000 and 100,000, of which there are 452. But Reviews.com’s list includes many with far more than 100,000, so it’s not clear how the company picked the cities for its comparison.
In any case, Albany ranked as No. 63 on the review outfit’s list of safe cities, right behind Bend, and Corvallis was No. 68. As for the risk, chances of becoming the victim of a violent crime were one in 959 in Albany, and one in 768 in Corvallis.
Albany has long had a problem with higher-than-average property crimes, and this is reflected in the risk of becoming a victim in that category: One in 38. (It was one in 40 in Corvallis.)
Review.com adds a cautionary note: “Remember that these are just estimated predictions, however, and a variety of factors play a part in any city’s safety.”
The Albany Police Department has just published its annual report, and it shows an overall reduction in crime of nearly 26 percent since 2012.
But for 2018 it reports an increase of 12 percent over 2017 in so-called Part I crimes, which totaled 1,743. Most of the increase came in larcenies or thefts, from 1,227 to 1,359. This is a surprise because since 2012, the number of thefts had been dropping every year.
In other crime categories, where the numbers are much smaller, aggravated assault stands out with a 48 percent increase, to 34 cases last year. But a change in reporting procedures in 2017 may have affected the statistics.
Robbery was up from 21 to 25 year over year, and car thefts rose from 102 to 119. Albany also reported 186 burglaries, up from 162 in 2017. The report doesn’t include clearance rates for any of the crimes.
Dealing with and trying to prevent crime in a town of more than 53,000, Albany police have 65 sworn officers and 34 other employees. On a bike ride last month, a ran into one of the officers, Breanna Hedrick. Somebody had called in a report, and the officer had been checking an overgrown back corner of the cemetery near Waverly Lake. It turned out to be nothing, but checking it out was just part of working to keep people safe. (hh)
Based on comments below, the story has been edited.