The Odessa police chief has issued a statement regarding a Time magazine report that Odessa is tops on a list of U.S. cities where violent crime is rising.
Chief Tim Burton gave a statement to CBS 7 in which he said Odessa has seen unprecedented economic growth and an influx in young and male population, two of the largest predictors of who will commit a criminal act.
“Large ‘natural resource booms’ attract a large number of this population group which is statistically far more likely to engage in criminal activity and the late night behaviors which lead to violence,” Burton said in the statement to CBS 7. “The increase in crime in our community directly correlates to the shifting economic environment and the sudden and dramatic increase in population.”
According to the Time story, Odessa has seen a 75.5 percent increase in the violent crime rate in the past five years, including 3.5 murders per 100,000 people.
In his statement to CBS 7, Burton said a 47 percent increase in violent crime in 2012 was the largest in recent years, but violent crime has since trended downward by 2 percent in 2013.
“Citizens can be reassured that our city is a safe place to live and work,” Burton said.
Nonetheless, the Time story reports that violent crime rose from a rate of 468.1 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 821.3 per 100,000 people in 2012.
Odessa was ranked No. 1 on the list, with Columbus, Ind., at No. 2, and Wheeling, W.Va., at No. 3.