Nicer in real life: Cities with less murder and mayhem than TV would suggest

Yahoo Contributor Network

If you lived outside the U.S. and could only judge America by the way the country is portrayed on TV, you could be forgiven for thinking that the U.S. is populated solely by beautiful people who are constantly solving murder mysteries. But despite the way some American cities are portrayed on TV, not every major metropolitan area is a dangerous place to live. Here are some examples of U.S. cities that, in real life, are far less frightening than their TV equivalents.

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is the setting for USA's comedy "Psych." And for a city with a population of under 100,000 people in real life, the fictionalized version of Santa Barbara on "Psych" has an awfully high murder rate.

While not every episode of "Psych" includes a murder (and not every murder the show includes takes place in Santa Barbara), Shawn and Gus seem to investigate at least a dozen murders a year, on average. But in real life, Santa Barbara had zero murders in the years 2004, 2005, and 2011. From 2007-2010, there were 12 murders in total. That hardly makes Santa Barbara a city "built on murder," as this USA promo claims.

Erie, Indiana

Erie is a small town in Lawrence Country, Indiana. But if you are familiar with the beloved '90s kids' show "Eerie, Indiana," you could be forgiven for thinking that Erie is a hotbed of paranormal activity. Just to clear things up, the real Erie has never been home to evil dogs planning world domination, Bigfoot, or mystical Tupperware containers that can stave off death.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco was the setting for USA's crime dramedy "Monk" and the supernatural series "Charmed." While the Halliwell sisters make for great TV, the real San Francisco has relatively few practicing Wiccans (and no demons, as far as we know).

The San Francisco portrayed in "Monk" is a little closer to reality. The show ran from 2002-2009. In real life, San Francisco actually saw a sharp spike in murders during 2004-2008, with an average of 93 homicides a year. However, by 2009, the real San Fran's murder rate dipped to 45 victims, a level not seen since the 1960s. As far as we know, San Fran didn't actually hire a consultant with OCD during that time period.

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