I appreciated the examination of crime statistics in high-walkability and low-walkability neighborhoods that you all ran recently (Static, April 18). I always enjoy City Paper’s looks at data on life in Baltimore City. I would like to offer a few comments that might provide some context.
* Most of the neighborhoods in the “most walkable” category have a high number of visitors from other parts of the city as well as from the county. People go eating and drinking in Federal Hill and Mount Vernon, and they park in Sharp-Leadenhall and Otterbein to visit the stadiums or the Inner Harbor. So in these neighborhoods, there may be more people at risk of crime than the number of residents indicates. In other words, the higher per-resident rates of vehicle larceny and robbery may be because many more people are going through, not because the neighborhoods are more dangerous for any one person.
* If we take the number of residents as the number at risk, then except for the top two rows of your table (“larceny from vehicle” and “robbery”), the differences in specific crime categories were not statistically significant. The increased risk of aggravated assault in the most walkable communities (for example) is suggestive, but most statisticians would not feel comfortable ruling out chance in this case.
* Looking at crime data over a longer period of time might give firmer estimates of the crime risk among these communities.
* Getting a true estimate of crime risk (accounting for residents and visitors) would be hard. But intuitively, if the per-person risk of vehicle larceny and robbery were highest along the downtown corridor, it’s unlikely that these neighborhoods would support the wide variety of shops, restaurants, and other amenities that give them such a high walkability score.
Vestmental ValuesI read “The Law-Abiding Citizen” (Political Animal, March 28). Brian Morton is a black brother who writes as though his pen is a sword to cut away a repulsive disease hiding in the decaying flesh of racism. He says, “But the fact still remains, were it not for the fact that Zimmerman was riding around armed as a vigilante, a ‘Neighborhood Watch’ commander on ego steroids, ready and willing and looking for trouble, then an unarmed 17-year-old boy might still be alive.”
As an Afrocentric feminist, I believe that most white cops and white-looking men who want to be cops believe that black men who are poor and wear hoodies are drug dealers or buyers, poor, living at home without a father, or a father who might be in prison or a father they have never known.
As I see it, Trayvon Martin was racially profiled because of the clothes he was wearing, which were offensive to George Zimmerman. But Martin’s clothes should not have mattered in the first place.
Most people who read City Paper or hear me talk on the radio believe that I am a racist. Racism is the reason that I am suspicious of most conservative-thinking white folks, especially white police officers.
This week, I am heading straight to a library to pick up two books: Wrong Place, Wrong Time by John A. Rich, a book about trauma and violence in the lives of young black men, and The New Jim Crow, by black female law professor Michelle Alexander.
I am poor, living at the bottom of the well of poverty. My clothes are cheap. What you think of me is simple: I don’t give a damn as long as my clothes are on me—clean and wearable.
Larnell Custis Butler