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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Myrtle Beach is 21st most dangerous city in America?

A list that has Myrtle Beach ranked as the 21st most dangerous city in the country is making the rounds on some news Websites and blogs.

This list is done by NeigborhoodScout.com, which says it compiles stats every year for the top 100 most dangerous cities. Spartanburg was the most dangerous city in South Carolina, coming in at No. 11, according to the list. Myrtle Beach was the only other city in the state on the list.

But if you look at their methodology, it is quite easy to discern why the list is flawed.

It uses the base population then comes up with a crimes per 1,000-residents number. Because of that, it assumes that Myrtle Beach's roughly 27,000-person total was responsible for all the crime committed in the city - and does not account for the millions of people who flood into Myrtle Beach every year.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce often disputes these sorts of lists for just that reason. While I'm occasionally at odds with the Chamber - OK, more than occasionally - on this, the chamber makes a fair point.

A colleague and I a few years back dug deep into one such lists years ago, a ranking that put Myrtle Beach high on job creation or another such positive attribute. We were skeptical of the ranking, did our own calculations and got in touch with the researchers who put the list together and told them what we found. After we did and explained the true demographics of Myrtle Beach, the researchers said we were right and changed Myrtle Beach's ranking on that particular list.

When it comes to lists that rank Myrtle Beach nationally, that context needs to be remembered, no matter if it is a positive or negative one.

Myrtle Beach has crime issues just like every other city, no doubt. You can get hurt here or have your purse stolen, or worse, just as you can just about anywhere else. You must keep your eyes open and remain aware of your surroundings. This isn't Dorothy's Kansas, but it is also not Kosovo.

If Myrtle Beach really is the 21st most dangerous city, this country is even safer than I thought.

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