Predicting crime rates from Zip code demographics

Brief by Central Staff

Crime – June 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

How safe is your town from crime?

CAP Index, a company in Pennsylvania, uses census demographic data to generate a statistical likelihood for crime, rather than following the traditional reliance on police reports.

The company has a theory that the amount of “socia

Factors affecting social disorder include divorce, single-parent households, and population stability (the less that people move, the safer we all are, apparently).

Some of the research is available to the public. CAP Index has a web site — — where you can type in a zip code and get a ranking from 1 to 10, with 10 the most dangerous.

So, we tried it for some towns we know, and got these results:

Salida and Leadville, 3

Cañon City, Fairplay, and Montrose, 4

Buena Vista, Gunnison, Sa guache, Westcliffe, and Durango, 5

Alamosa, 6.

The company says ratings 1-3 are low, 4-6 moderate, 7-8 moderately high, 9 high, and 10 extreme.

So, Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley are fairly safe places, although it was odd to note that Alamosa rated worse than two Denver neighborhoods we checked. Both Baker and Capitol Hill got 5, better than Alamosa’s 6.

However, 80201, the lowest part of Lodo in Denver, got an 8. That was the highest for any Zip code we checked.