A report that placed four neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia, among the 25 most dangerous in the United States has not gone unnoticed by the Atlanta Police Department.
On Thursday, the department cast doubt on the methodology behind the "Top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods," and cautioned the public against taking the report at face value.
"We will not dispute that there are neighborhoods in Atlanta that experience more crime than others, for a variety of factors," the APD said in a statement. "We take fighting crime seriously, and do not believe it can be reduced to catchy headlines about 'dangerous neighborhoods' based on potentially flawed methodology. It’s a disservice to the community we work hard to serve," the department said in a statement Wednesday.
Atlanta's standings in positions 5, 7, 17 and 22 - which includes one neighborhood within walking distance of CNN's world headquarters - put it on the list more than any other city.
Las Vegas, Nevada, made three appearances; Memphis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois all appeared twice, with the neighborhood contained within Chicago's 60612 zip code topping the list.
The data behind the report was compiled by NeighborhoodScout, a real estate consulting company that specializes in location-based analysis and risk assessment, prompting the APD's observation that the findings were not "sanctioned by an academic institution or think-tank" but rather, "a for-profit entity that sells real estate information."
The APD, which did not assist in the report, said it was conducting its own examination to assess the report's accuracy and veracity.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, the company's director and founder, Andrew Schiller, said the findings were based on data collected from 17,000 law enforcement agencies, including city police, county sheriffs, university and campus patrols and transit police.
He said the rankings were based on rates of violent crime per 1,000 people, based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports definition of violent crime, which includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.
To define the neighborhood limits used in the report, Schiller said NeighborhoodScout relied on census tracts used by the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Many of these 'neighborhoods' include daytime populations such as the ones described above," the department said.
The APD pointed out other "potential flaws" in the methodology that could "skew" the numbers, among them:
- An undercounting of the population in census tracts analyzed.
- Inclusion in the analysis of major venues that host hundreds of thousands of conventioneers, tourists, workers, travelers and spectators, such as Turner Field, MARTA stations, the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center.
- Use of “predicted” crimes based on past trends.