According to a survey conducted by Movoto.com, a national real estate website, Ocean City is the most dangerous place in Maryland.
The survey is clearly flawed and never should have received the attention it did, but multiple media outlets nonetheless took the bait and ran stories on this ridiculous conclusion without even studying its merits.
The biggest issue with the survey is the fact it used crime data reported to the FBI and compared it to the town’s small year-round population, leading to the absurd conclusion that Ocean City residents have a one-in-77 chance of being a victim of a violent crime and a one-in-five chance of a property crime being committed against them.
The survey simply took the crime data and compared it to the year-round population and ignored the entire fact the summer population swells to an average of about 250,000 during the peak summer months.
It reminds me of an alcoholic beverage consumption study that is conducted every year, concluding Worcester County consumes more alcohol per capita than any other jurisdiction in the mid-Atlantic. It’s, of course, skewed by the visiting population’s imbibing tendencies and is immediately discounted for that very reason.
The coverage the survey received led Ocean City officials to go on the defensive. Councilman Brent Ashley was interviewed by at least one television station and adamantly defended the town. Ashley called the study, “erroneous” and said, “We are very safe down here.”
Additionally, Mayor Rick Meehan took to Facebook to express his feelings about the survey, which he called “irresponsible and incorrect.”
“The Movoto list is highly misleading and frankly, inaccurate. Instead of factoring in our nearly 8 million visitors, it based the crime to our resident ratio on a year-round population of just 7,000,” Meehan wrote. “Our population rises to about 300,000 people from May to September. Had those statistics been considered, the results would prove the safety and low crime rate of Ocean City. We take tremendous pride in our public safety and actually experienced a 13 percent decrease in criminal offenses in 2013. We are a safe family-friendly resort and we find the ‘hitch or hang up’ in Movoto’s list irresponsible and incorrect.”
Last Saturday was a proud day for Berlin, and I have never seen as many people in town for as long of a period.
It was a perfect scenario for a successful day. The absolutely perfect weather combined with the Berlin Little League parade and opening day and the Beach Lacrosse games resulted in a busy day in town. However, the true draw was the celebration in honor of Berlin being named “America’s Coolest Small Town” in an online poll conducted earlier this year. The event attracted about 3,000 people, according to estimates, as well as brought with it a wonderful and fun vibe.
For as long as I can remember, the two largest events in Berlin were traditionally the Fiddlers Convention in late September and the Christmas Parade in early December. While those events remain strong, the biggest annual event now is the New Year’s Eve ball drop event, which is much more than just the midnight celebration. The restaurants and bars in town have a long night of hosting revelers and it’s a great boost to winter sales. Previously, New Year’s Eve was not a big deal in Berlin. The restaurants that were open fared well, but it’s now a town-wide success.
During Saturday’s special event, it was enjoyable to see the people of all ages enjoying Berlin. There were youth lacrosse players and baseball players mixed in with parents and grandparents as well as visitors and local residents. Throughout the course of the day, thousands came and went, and Berlin definitely put its best face forward.
It was a memorable day.