Reason for Ranking
High levels of violent crime compromise physical safety and psychological well-being. High crime rates can also deter residents from pursuing healthy behaviors, such as exercising outdoors. Additionally, exposure to crime and violence has been shown to increase stress, which may exacerbate hypertension and other stress-related disorders and may contribute to obesity prevalence. Exposure to chronic stress also contributes to the increased prevalence of certain illnesses, such as upper respiratory illness, and asthma in neighborhoods with high levels of violence.
Measurement Strengths and Limitations
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data is generally regarded as a valid and reliable index of the types of crime residents view as serious events. UCR data has been criticized on the grounds that it measures the reaction of law enforcement agencies rather than criminal behavior itself; however, for serious crimes such as homicide and robbery, studies have found that the data appear to accurately reflect rates. UCR data may be contaminated by bias when compared across jurisdictions.