Editorial: Ranking the rankings

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On Sunday we wrote about statistics and the dangers of trying to interpret data. Specifically we looked at a state report that showed a reduction in the number of students disciplined and suspended in Worcester Public Schools and how that could be interpreted multiple ways.

Rankings can also be misleading. Some are based solely on quantitative analysis while others introduce subjective measures. This does not mean rankings can be completely without merit. Even rankings with subjective measures point to perceptions.

The key to using statistics or rankings as they relate to Worcester — or anything — is to be informed by but not beholden to them. In that vein, and with end-of-the-year-lists seemingly ubiquitous, here are 10 rankings to consider.

Worcester is 18th nationally in return on investment on police spending. Last week WalletHub released its rankings of the 104 most populated U.S. cities. It determined rank by “calculating each city’s ROI on law-enforcement spending based on crime rates and per-capita expenditures on police forces.”

Takeaway: This is an affirmation that the Worcester Police Department is using its resources efficiently.


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