Is crime on Craigslist worse than in Oakland?

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

We’ve all heard the Craigslist horror stories where some shady criminal lures an innocent victim to a hotel room where he cooks her in a stew a la Craigslist killer. Stories like this may not be so farfetched, as recent statistics released by the AIM Group claim the site is linked to 330 crimes, including 12 murders and 105 robberies.

"Sadly, Craigslist has become a cesspool of crime," concludes the AIM Group report.

The report reminds us of the dangers of online communication with people you don’t truly know. That said, the reliability of the report is somewhat questionable seeing as it was commissioned by Oodle, a Craigslist competitor website.

Asking whether the amount of crime really marks Craigslist as a cesspool for crime, the SF Gate points out that based on the size of Craigslist compared to the city of Oakland, Craigslist is nearly 11,000 times safer.

For example, if Craigslist were a city it would be 146 times larger than Oakland.

Yet Oakland has 116 murders, 4,488 burglaries and 4,129 felony assaults, while Craigslist had 117 across those three categories in 2010.

Considering its size, Craigslist only has only a few dozen people policing a website with a community a little larger than England - hardly putting it in "cesspool of crime" status.

However, the report does bring up valid questions of website responsibility when it comes to crime and how much policing the site should actually do.

As our world becomes more digital, there will obviously be a strong spotlight on crime within community sites like Facebook and Craigslist.

(Via SF Gate)