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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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Malone has a drug problem.  So does the rest of America, although for our purposes this is irrelevant, since  you and I don’t live in the rest of America; we look at the rest of America on TV.  What I’m about to describe isn’t a TV program; it’s your home and mine.  We can’t make our drug problem go away by turning off the TV; we’re going to have to do something about it.  Moreover, it’s our problem, not the state’s or federal government’s.  It’s up to us to fix it with a multi-tiered plan.
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Hand-in-hand with our drug problem is an off-the-charts crime problem.  Several weeks ago, a blog calling itself NYup.com printed a sensationalist article, “Twenty Most Dangerous Places in Upstate NY, According to Latest FBI Crime Data.”  The article listed the Village of Malone as #20, behind Poughkeepsie (#19), Utica (#16), Albany (#13), Watertown (#9), and Niagara Falls (#1).  (NYup.com should be taken with a grain of salt.  To give you a sense of the fare it serves up, this is a sampler from today’s teasers, 8-1-17:  “Couple accused of public sex act at Enchanted Water Safari,”  “Northeast naturist festival:  Six days of naked fun at nude retreat,” and “How the alligator was captured by DEC on upstate river.”  Sex, nudity, and ‘gators on the loose — sounds like a tabloid.)

Here’s how NYup.com crunched the numbers that landed “Malone:  Star of the North since 1802” among the 20 most dangerous places on earth in upstate NY:

NYup.com gave the Village of Malone a so-called Crime Score of 1075.  “To create the score,” says author Ben Axelson, “we standardized the number of crimes per 100,000 people” — his first mistake.  There is no credible “standardization” of crimes per arbitrary population figure.  There are far too many unknown and unknowable variables to make this number meaningful.  (Perfect example of garbage in, garbage out.)  Axelson compounds his goofy statistics with, “Then, we [arbitrarily] weighted violent crimes at 80 percent and property crimes at 20 percent [of what?], as violent crime is often of greater concern to residents.”

Mr. Axelson should stick to journalism and lay off math.

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