For people who believe a lawn start-up company proclaiming Roseburg as the most dangerous city in Oregon, the Roseburg Police Department has some advice.

Numbers and percentages taken at face value can be misleading.

Roseburg police sent out a press release to educate the public after the city received the dubious distinction from LawnStarter.

The website took FBI data released in September 2019, weighted it by the amount of time prisoners serve for each crime, and came up with a “Danger Index” which indicated Oregon was the 16th most dangerous state in the U.S.

Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch pointed out that while the report involves numbers and percentage, those were taken at face value without explanation.

“The Roseburg Police Department takes pride in the fact that we respond to every call for service — thus, taking reports for crimes that many other agencies do not,” Eichenbusch wrote in the press release. “Ultimately, not responding to, or not taking reports on minor crimes can lead to an inaccurate picture of crime for a particular jurisdiction, especially if it is based on crime data. We at the Roseburg Police Department knew that accurate record keeping could potentially lead to something like this, but we feel responding to all of our communities’ requests for service, and accurately documenting crimes that have occurred in our jurisdiction is the appropriate way to conduct our business. We will continue to operate in this manner, despite the possibility of this making it appear our crime statistics are higher.”

According to the data collected by Lawnstarter, Roseburg has arson, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle, property and rape crime rates higher than the national average, while it has a lower murder, robbery and violent crime rate.

Larceny, property crime and burglary rates are ones that “many agencies don’t investigate, this giving the appearance that their crime rate it lower,” according to the Roseburg Police Department. “Conversely, our rates for most major person crimes are all lower than the U.S. average and only one is higher than the State average. Significantly, our violent crime rate is almost a full point lower than the State of Oregon average and almost 2 points lower than the U.S. average.”

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