According to the F.B.I., if you live in Dallas you might wanna buy one of these. Might save you and the cops a lot of time down the road.

Crime Happens (Or: You Could Be Next)

Saw this story in the morning paper about yesterday's F.B.I. report on the rise in violent crime last year. Lots of numbers, hard to add 'em all up: "The Dallas Police Department reported early this year that crime in the city fell sharply in 2005, with murders down 18.9 percent and overall crime down 5.3 percent. Violent crime fell 4.6 percent. The Dallas Morning News reported in April that in 2005, for the eighth year in a row, Dallas had the highest crime rate among U.S. cities with more than a million people." Yeah, OK, but down 18.9 percent from what? Fell 4.6 percent from where? Them's some useless numbers without some kind of context.

I need someone to sit down with the F.B.I.'s Crime in the United States 2005 report and explain it to me. And then scare the hell outta me with it. New York, can you help? Why, yes, it can. There's a story in The New York Times today about the same report that puts it in perfectly plain and terrifying language:

"[New York City's] Total Crime Index ranked lowest for crime in 2005 among the nation's 10 largest cities, including Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Dallas had the worst index ranking, with 8,484.4 reported crimes per 100,000 people. That represents about one crime for each 12 people."

See, I get that. And I appreciate that. It gives me just what I need so I can begin my day--plenty of fear, the ultimate motivator. --Robert Wilonsky

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