Airport crime statistics are questionable

USAToday (click for the story) reported that crime outside of airports is higher than other areas of many cities. However, I take issue with the listing that Denver International Airport received. Check out the list here.

Denver International Airport received a ranking of 421, beating out San Diego and Los Angeles International Airport. I’ve spent time training employees at both airports, SAN and LAX, and helped open DEN when I worked there. I’ve stayed at the hotels right out the front gate of LAX, which is right down the street from Watts and Compton, and I’m befuddled that Denver gets a higher crime ranking.

Apparently, this was a computer generated statistic, without reality involved in the equation. I would like to know what high crime area around Denver International Airport was surveyed. First, the airport sits on the plains, surrounded by miles and miles of miles. The nearest subdivisions are a good 15 minute drive from the airport and the hotel area, a 10 minute drive from the airport, is not a high crime area. There is a high crime area, but it’s about 15 minutes west of the airport, and your normal airport traveler wouldn’t be wandering off into that area.

Now, let’s compare this to LAX – which, by it’s location is a higher crime area. I’ve taken frequent walks from my hotel, which is usually the Courtyard Marriott, right at the big L-A-X letters at the airport entrance, to the 24hr Fitness center, about 3 blocks away, and I’ve walked even farther east to some of the eating establishments. I’m personally on high alert during these walks, particularly at night because it is a high crime area. However, I’d walk from DIA, all the day to Interstate 70, which is a 9 mile hike, and the only violence I’d be worried about is getting hit by a speeding car on Pena Boulevard.

Please take lists like this with a huge dose of salt. I’ve personally been to every airport on the list and in some cases, like Philadelphia, there’s probably some good justification there. But in many of these cases, it seems the compute has taken a nearby subdivision, that no traveler would ever go to unless they are lost and used its statistics to prove their point, erroneously.

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