Putting incidents at the Stanley Milner library into perspective

The Stanley Milner Library was in the news a lot last week thanks to a few violent incidents that happened outside the main entrance. Mayor Mandel suggested moving the entrance to the back, away from Churchill Square, an idea that EPL CEO Linda Cook doesn’t agree with (more on this from Colby). I don’t either. I’d much rather see the sidewalk widened, and perhaps the bus stop moved.

Then I got to thinking – maybe we’re making a big deal out of nothing.

This is based on data from the Edmonton Sun (and I used IBM’s Many Eyes to get the proportions right). There were 1.4 million visits and just 728 incidents in 2009. Incidents here include everything from “noisy patrons to public intoxication”. How many violent crimes are there? I’m guessing a lot less.

I’m not trying to downplay the violent crimes that have occurred, but if so many people use the library without incident maybe the entrance isn’t the issue.