“Vital Signs 12,” an annual data portrait of Baltimore City and its unique neighborhoods, was recently released by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute.
The data measures quality of life in eight broad categories and includes more than 150 indicators related to demographics, housing, crime, workforce, health, housing, education, and sustainability. The data is mostly from 2012.
In the study, Baltimore neighborhoods, more accurately groups of Baltimore neighborhoods, are clustered together into “community statistical areas,” or CSAs, which are organized around census tract boundaries.
Official neighborhood lines often do not fall along CSA boundaries, and CSAs don’t necessarily reflect the traditional or geographical boundaries associated with local neighborhoods. For example, the Harbor East/Little Italy CSA includes Jonestown, Washington Hill, and the Perkins Homes, but only part of the newer Harbor East development.
Baltimore’s Southeast communities scored well in many areas, but continued to register high numbers in liquor outlet density per 1,000 residents and Part 1 crimes; however the Part 1 crime rate showed a decline in several Southeast communities.
Part I crimes are categorized as violent crimes (homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, larceny and auto theft). According to the BNAI, data related to juvenile crime in Baltimore City was not available for 2012.
Vital Signs’ measure of liquor outlet density includes liquor stores and BD-7 taverns, but not restaurants that serve alcohol or private clubs with liquor licenses. The Fell’s Point, Highlandtown, and Canton CSAs each had some of Baltimore’s highest liquor outlet density scores.
Highlandtown scored the highest in the Southeast with 5.2 outlets per 1,000 residents; the Canton CSA (which includes Patterson Park, but not the Ellwood annex) scored 4.9, and the Fell’s Point CSA (which includes Butcher’s Hill and Upper Fell’s Point) scored 4.1. This is according to data reported by the Liquor Board for 2011. The city’s liquor outlet density average score is 1.2.
Vital Signs 12’s crime data indicators are provided by the Baltimore City Police Department as part of the national Uniform Crime Report cooperative statistical reporting.
The BNIA says indicators are created by normalizing this data by population to establish crime rates. Normalizing data allows for the rates to reflect the concentration of the crime relative to the population, and allows for comparison across neighborhoods and over time.
Citywide, the Part 1 crime rate per 1,000 residents for 2012 was 61.8 incidents. The Harbor East/Little Italy CSA score was 139.3, a relatively large number but still a 26-point drop from the previous year. The Orangeville/East Highlandtown CSA (which includes Greektown, Kresson, and several other communities) rate was 85.6, a 5.6-point drop from the previous year.
The Fell’s Point CSA’s rate was 91, reflecting a 3.2 point increase over the previous year’s data.
The Patterson Park North & East CSA (which includes Patterson Place, Ellwood Park, the Patterson Park neighborhood and the Ellwood annex portion of Patterson Park) scored 79.4, reflecting a 3.2 point decline over the previous year.
By way of comparison, the Baltimore CSA with the highest Part 1 crime rate is Downtown/Seton Hill, which scored 331.
While crime continues to be higher than residents of the Southeast would like, BNIA data suggests that the area is thriving according to other quality of life indicators, such as new businesses and new development.
The Canton CSA scored in the top five of Baltimore CSAs for new businesses (both for-profit and nonprofit) that are four years old or less, two years old or less, and one year old or less.
The Orangeville/East Highlandtown CSA (which includes Greektown, Bayview, Baltimore Highlands, Kresson and several other communities) and the Harbor East/Little Italy CSA were among the city’s top five CSAs for new construction permits.
Last year’s Vital Signs featured walkability as an indicator, and many Southeast neighborhoods scored well. This year’s data did not include walkability scores.
One new trend for the Southeast is the comparative youth of its residents.
The Harbor East/Little Italy and Patterson Park/North & East CSAs were among the five lowest CSAs in percentage of population age 65 and over, based on 2010 census data. Canton and Fells Point scored among the top five CSAs for residents age 25-64.
by Danielle Sweeney