Our View: Internet studies don’t always have credibility

DKS Editors

Looks can be deceiving in the Internet Age, and sometimes it takes a careful eye to tell the difference between someone trying to inform you and someone trying to sell you something.

Kent was named Ohio’s 41st-safest city in Ohio in a “study” by home security provider Safewise.com. In the post, Safewise cites its “own research” and an FBI Crime Data report from 2011.

There is very little in the way of information in the Safewise report. The site looks clean and professional, but there is no explanation of how the rankings were decided and nothing in the way of facts or figures. The post does, however, include a link to Safewise’s site, where users can be quoted prices on home security in their area.

To us, it appears to be little more than a business trying to drive traffic to its website. We might know immediately to disregard emails from far-flung princes promising riches in return for a money transfer, but it’s hard not to take a site that looks so real on face value.

This is not to say that the city doesn’t deserve praise for its safety. According to City-data.com, the overall crime rate in Kent is “low,” with crimes of all types occurring significantly less than the national average. Kent is undeniably a safe place to live.

But violent crime still does happen. In 2011, the most recent data year on City-data, there were two murders, six rapes, 472 thefts and 33 assaults.

As Kent grows, the needs of the city will change with it. With the university enrolling more students than at any point in its history and downtown bustling with traffic due to new development and revitalization, there is a risk that crime could become more prevalent.

We believe that it is time for a legitimate study to assess the current state of the city’s safety. Any potential trouble spots should be identified and fixed before they become a real issue.

This way, the citizens of Kent can have information about their city without having to rely on obscure websites with ulterior motives.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.