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October 23 2017

Economist Mag Promotes Chicago as Safest U.S. City--No, Really

by Charlotte Hays

I've never worried about the income gap--I prefer to focus on the opportunity gap.

But a ranking of cities according to how safe they supposedly are indicates that maybe I should start worrying about the income gap. The ranking indicates how divorced from the reality most people face the elites have become.

You see the Economist ranks Chicago as the safest city in the U.S. Chicago!

Nicole Gelinas has an excellent piece in City Journal taking apart the data and analyzing what the ranking means. By the way, other "safest" cities are Tokyo, Toronto, and Stockholm, which Gelinas says makes "intuitive sense." Chicago doesn't make intuitive sense.

One of the data points used in determining safety is life expectancy--it is 78 years in Chicago and 81 New York (formerly the U.S.'s safest city). The murder rate in Chicago last year was 28 per 100,000 or seven times that of New York. The Economist apparently doesn't mention stats from law enforcement data bases or ordinary newspaper reports of violent crimes.

So how did Chicago become number one?

Where data fiction and innumeracy didn’t suffice, the analysts chose irrelevancy. Chicago scored well on “digital security,” because, as the report notes, “the city is home to several leading cyber security firms and in January its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced the launch of a new cyber security training initiative.” This non sequitur is like saying that New Jersey is the healthiest state because it is home to so many pharmaceutical companies. Another touted data point on “digital security” is the percentage of citizens with Internet access. Widespread Internet access may be a social good, but having it by definition decreases digital security.

Gelinas finds it ironic that Chicago is safest when it makes constant headlines with murders. But the majority of these crimes, she notes, are black children and young black men. Can't notice that can we?

These facts make global elites uncomfortable, and highlighting them in a report would apparently seem racist, or at least rude.

And of course if you are a member of the global elite it is easy to close your eyes to the plight of a large segment of the city's citizenry:

There is also a practical matter: if you’re a businessman travelling from Heathrow to O’Hare for a three-day trip, and don’t stray from a 15-or-so-block business district and waterfront, Chicago is safe—and lovely, as well. Chicago can top New York on a “safe cities” index, then, only after you’ve ignored and tortured the data, and also asked the question: safe for whom?

The liberal elite--including people who read and write for the Economist--may profess sympathy with low-income people, but this alleged sympathy is sentimental and distanced. Maybe that is why their "solutions" to social ills rarely work out that well.

The ranking also indicates that no amount of civic disorder is bad as long as it doesn't encroach on the lives of the highly-privileged.

That is a very Third World attitude.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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