Fact Check: Rochester is one of the most dangerous cities in the country?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The violence in the City of Rochester continues to make headlines. You may have heard Rochester is more dangerous than Chicago, or that we’re one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Is any of that true? News10NBC’s Nikki Rudd has a fact check.

There’s no doubt crime is up. Here in Rochester and across the country.

Take a look at this post online. A local man wrote, "Fifth most dangerous city. Can you believe Rochester is the 5th most dangerous city in the USA? I saw it on YouTube, and I’m shocked we have sunk so low. I wish we could change this statistic. Makes me want to move out of here and go to a city where our lives aren’t in danger just to live life."

First of all, always look at the source of information. Anyone can post something on YouTube.

When you do a Google search, the statistics are all over the place.

In a U.S. News & World Report story, Rochester didn’t even make the top 25 most dangerous places.

On neighborhoodscout.com, we aren’t even in the top 100 most dangerous cities.

So where do people get this data? News10NBC looked into it. Many of these sites use information from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. That’s not necessarily the most up-to-date information. The most recent compiled data is from 2019.

Also note what is being ranked. A metro area or the city itself, and what’s the methodology? Some rankings include the number of jobs in an area, housing affordability and the quality of education or health care.

So we narrowed it down. Let’s compare Rochester’s homicide rate per capita to Chicago’s. We took the numbers from both city’s open data portals. You can search for these yourselves. Click here for Rochester’s. Click here to view Chicago’s data portal.

Then, we found the latest population numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Then we did the math. So far this year, Rochester has had about 20 homicides for every 100-thousand people. Chicago is at 16. So right now, yes, Rochester has a higher per capita murder rate than Chicago. That is a fact.

As for Rochester being the fifth most dangerous city in the country, we couldn’t find anything to support that. We reached out to the Rochester Police Department for the story. Officials say those types of lists are often click-bait and have shoddy or limited evidence to support the claims.

So don’t believe everything you read online and always check your source.


Check out other Fact Checks here. If you have an idea for Fact Check, email Nikki Rudd at nrudd@whec.com.