AURORA, Mo. – Leaders in Aurora are frustrated seeing old data used in an online article. 

Online studies ranking various things have become a popular concept over the years. For example, an article may rank the top places to live or the most dangerous cities.

However, the information may not always be as accurate as many are led to believe.

Aurora Police Chief Wes Coatney said an article recently listed the town as number seven in a list of most dangerous cities in the state.

“As I looked deeper, I saw that they were using stats from four years ago,” said Coatney. “The article was published, I think, in May of this year,” Coatney said since 2018, violent crime has decreased.

“The thing that was high that year was eight robberies were reported in that number that they had,” said Coatney. “You know, in 2022, Aurora hasn’t had a single robbery. I hate that folks are reading that and thinking, okay, this is what’s currently happening, and it isn’t.”

This type of list, Coatney said, can be damaging.

“When people view or get information about crime that is inaccurate or not presented in a way that really tells the story, it damages the legitimacy of the government,” said Coatney. 

Jonathan Groves is a communication professor at Drury University. He said it’s key for consumers to really look into the data presented on these lists. That means looking into who compiled the lists, where they got the data and what the source is.

“If I’m looking at per capita numbers, I may have a greater incident per capita than cities that are much larger,” said Groves. “Then that’s where you also want to look at the statistical likelihood of you encountering those kinds of situations in your own life.”

He said every writer behind these lists may use different qualifications.

“The best we can do is as readers and as viewers and as consumers, is to be wise to that,” said Groves. 

Chief Coatney said there’s a good website to research for up-to-date crime information reported from departments. https://showmecrime.mo.gov/CrimeReporting/CrimeReportingTOPS.html