September 17, 2014

Coeur d’Alene: Most Dangerous City in Idaho?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 11:45 am

violentcrimeIs Coeur d’Alene, Idaho really the most dangerous city in Idaho?  Could be.

Last night on KREM2 news out of Spokane, reporter Shawn Chitnis reported on a recent analysis of  FBI violent crime statistics.  His story was headlined Spokane and Coeur d’Alene rank high on dangerous city list.

We contacted KREM2 reporter Shawn Chitnis this morning, and he responded very promptly to provide the online source for his story.

A group called Law Street Media did a 50-state analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report information for 2012, the most recent year for which complete data was available.

Here is a link to Law Street Media’s state-by-state slideshow:  America’s Safest and Most Dangerous States 2014.  It is important to read LSM’s introductory material to understand some of the factors that can sometimes skew the figures.

But a review of the LSM’s data for Idaho leaves little doubt that Coeur d’Alene could certainly be considered Idaho’s most dangerous city.


  1. For those who are wondering about the high figure for Aggravated Assault in Coeur d’Alene, here is the FBI’s definition which is supposed to be used by law enforcement agencies for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reports:

    The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines aggravated assault as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. The UCR Program further specifies that this type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Attempted aggravated assault that involves the display of—or threat to use—a gun, knife, or other weapon is included in this crime category because serious personal injury would likely result if the assault were completed. When aggravated assault and larceny-theft occur together, the offense falls under the category of robbery.

    Comment by Bill — September 17, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  2. So, Bill, you’re saying that research shows the high incidence of aggravated assault in CdA is over and above robbery or attempted robbery? If someone is not trying to rob a victim, why the assault?–domestic disputes? Bar fights? It appears that CdA’s rate of violent crime is about double that of Bosie–yes? If so, why do you think this might be and do you think the new Chief will be able to help? (Apparently I’m full of questions today!)

    Comment by mary — September 17, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

  3. Mary,

    I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately, the Uniform Crime Reporting guidelines can be quite confusing. The example in my blockquote was more an example of confusion than clarification. I took it straight from the FBI’s UCR website!

    Yes, the Violent Crime Rate in the chart is per 100,000 people. Obviously, CdA doesn’t have 100,000 people so the figure for CdA is a mathematical projection. The chart projects that if both CdA and Boise had exactly 100,000 people, CdA’s Ag-Assault would be approximately twice that of Boise. That presumes, however, that both Boise and CdA are following exactly the same guidelines and making their calculations exactly the same way. That doesn’t always happen in the real world. Some city PDs underreport or underclassify their crime reports to make their city’s statistics look better.

    It’s part of the new chief’s job to understand and explain the figures to the Mayor and Council and the citizens in terms we can understand.

    Comment by Bill — September 17, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

  4. Or–it could be that part of the numbers that led to conclusions are comparing apples to oranges, but sometimes not even a fruit, but on the other hand – they could be “lying” with geo-statistics; mixed metaphors are an art. I always find it amazing that “averages” and “variables” used in statistical analyses are rarely identified as either mean, mode, or mathematical–or any subsets to those. The very process of choosing what type of data to collect, tabulate, and collate leads to presuppositions, then add geographic mapping, which comes with its own subjective baggage, and you end up with whatever you want to believe.

    Regardless, Chief White has alot of training to do and I sincerely hope he has the support, fortitude, commitment, and longevity to stay on the job long enough to get to the roots of the weeds that keep popping-up and hurting people and dogs.

    Comment by Old Dog — September 17, 2014 @ 11:35 pm

  5. Old Dog and Mary,

    Back in the Dark Ages when I was at WSU (late ’60’s), we were introduced to the Uniform Crime Reporting System. Here is a link to the 164-page, 2004 edition of the Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook which guides law enforcement agencies on what, when, and how to report. In spite of the efforts in the 1980’s to improve the procedures and validity of the data, it’s still subject to misclassification (that’s a nice way of saying they cook the books to give the Mayor and City Council the figures they want in order to make the city look better — or worse, depending on the political objectives to be met.).

    Comment by Bill — September 18, 2014 @ 5:44 am

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