When it comes to the “creepiest” states – we’re talking about criminals, not goblins and ghosts – pay attention to the south or center of the country.
With Halloween approaching and the recent chatter about crime – whether justified or not – I’ve populated my robust spreadsheet with data from six recent crime and general safety scorecards. What should you worry about?
The numbers – the average rating – tell me that the “scariest” place to live is Arkansas, which is in 10th place in five out of six ratings. Texas followed. (Did I just say Texas?) Then Alabama, Oklahoma and Montana.
The least intimidating places – what you would otherwise call the “safest” states – was definitely New England on my pivot table. The first was Massachusetts, which entered the top ten on three scorecards, followed by Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah.
California, with all six scorecards, came in 23rd in the rankings average, squeezing between Virginia and Ohio.
As I often say, ratings like these are part science, part art – so this is not the final decision. But here’s how California has succeeded in this witchcraft mixture of criteria – and in the creepiest and safest states for everyone …
Crimes per capita: California was ranked 36th out of 50 states in the US News ranking of FBI crime statistics. The creepiest one? New Mexico, Alaska and Louisiana. Least creepy? Maine, New Hampshire and Idaho.
Prisons: California was ranked 20th in the Sentencing Project’s ranking in terms of the number of prisoners per capita. The creepiest one? Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Minimally disturbing? Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island.
Law enforcement costs: According to the calculations of the employees in the department of work with consumers in terms of quantity and dollars spent per capita, California has the seventh highest cost per resident. The creepiest lows? Idaho, South Dakota and Kentucky. Tops? Louisiana, Illinois and New York.
Vote: Safewise’s crime fears survey ranked California 23rd. Most Scared? Nebraska, New York, Arkansas and Kentucky. Least Scared: Oregon, Alaska, and Minnesota.
Common problems: California was ranked 21st in WalletHub’s survey for security issues related to financial, transportation, personal safety, and emergency preparedness. The creepiest one? Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The calmest? Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.
Viewing crimes: Anxiety levels should match Internet searches for “crime”, and Google Trends shows California ranked 13th in terms of growth. Most Scared? Louisiana, Delaware and Wyoming. Least worried about? Hawaii, South Dakota and Utah.
Full results for each state are displayed at bit.ly/spookystates.
Jonathan Lansner is a business commentator for the Southern California News Group. You can reach him at [email protected]