October 6th, 2010
09:07 PM ET

Atlanta Police dispute 'most dangerous neighborhoods' list

Four parts of Atlanta, Georgia, made a list of the country's most dangerous neighborhoods.

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.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Greg

    I have two little nephews and a niece that moved down there. We have some high-crime neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that never made the list and hope it does not!

    October 7, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    Greg, the difference between being on or off "the list" is just a few percentage points.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. potentialied

    The list is stupid, and here is why. Included on the list is areas like Centennial park in Atlanta, which i don't dispute as having crime, but it is not as dangerous as areas like Liberty City, in Miami, or West Baltimore, or MacAurther St in Oakland, CA. Those are some of the most dangerous places in the Country, and Didn't make the list. Baltimore was on the list last year, but Liberty City and Oakland didn't make "the Cut". I"m not saying Atlanta doesn't have it's share of crime, but I know there is only 1 or 2 areas that deserve to be on this list. I grew up near Atlanta, and now I live in Miami, and I felt more safe in College Park at night then I do when I'm in Traffic near Liberty City on the Highway.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. phil

    Again, the difference between being on the list of highest crime cities or safest cities is just a few percentage points.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. AR377

    I've lived in metro Atlanta my entire life and the only thing that has ever happened to me was having my apartment broken into by some kids when I was in college. They didn't even take anything. They were just being brats, going around breaking people's windows. Other than that? Nothing. And the building I work in is on Marietta St, right by COP.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. john

    I'm not a bit surprised. I lived there for 11 years and when my car was broken into for the 5th time I moved. That was 20 years ago this month and I'm not going back!

    October 7, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. patricia lumaava

    Crime is crime n it does not matter which city or what neighborhood its most heaviest, its what we as citizens or people do about it!

    October 7, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. stacy

    Whats wrong with these bloggers, well I'll tell you they are still up set that Obama won. Atl has some of greatest blk people you could ever meet, and the riches

    October 7, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • MrsR

      What does black and rich have to do with the price of tea in China? (that translates to "the question at hand"). You are obviously black. And I'll take a wild guess.....racist, too? Huh.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Obama won? His inept grasp of politics will get him voted out. His lack of consideration for the nation as a whole will get our economy further into the hole than it is already. We're talking about real need here....black folks as well as others. Upset? Yes indeed. Obama has surrounded himself with a private power group and denies all the rest of America. It has nothing to do with his skin; rather his lack of character. What did MLK say about character? hmmmm let me think,.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Hey guys, I got an idea. How about we talk about crime in Atlanta instead of talking about something completely irrelevant, like race, politics and Obama.

      October 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gman

    Anyone notice the common denominator in these zip codes? A majority black population...just like our prisons, must be a racist list. The numbers don't lie though.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MrsR

      If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck....

      October 7, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shane the pain

    East St. Louis didn't make it because that had to lay off a ton of cop's because they are broke. I guess the people of E STL are happier and not committing as many crimes because of this lay off. who knows?

    October 7, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. content pessimest

    Atlanta Census Black persons, percent, 2000 –> 61.4% Hmm!

    October 7, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. mkmChicago

    The problem with this list is the definition of "neighborhood". I'm a lifelong Chicago resident, and can say without equivocation the collection of city blocks used in this study are nowhere near the accepted definition of a Chicago neighborhood. Cherry-picking a select set of blocks to define them as most dangerous is bad science. And the use of past crime to predict how dangerous a set of city blocks is going to be in the future is simply silly. I recall seeing this list last year and guess what ? None of the so-called "neighborhoods" from last year are on it this year. I'm calling BS on the entire list.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Proud Atlantan

    Atlanta has some rough neighborhoods, but it has many more great neighborhoods. The common thread between those wonderful areas is community involvement. Police can't do it alone. It takes active people who want to take care of one another, and the streets they live on.
    You think neighborhood cleanups and mentoring don't help? Look at some of the areas that have transitioned into desirable real estate, and look at what it took to get it there.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Thuggin' in Atlanta

      "Atlanta has some rough neighborhoods, but it has many more great neighborhoods."

      How much crap does it take to ruin a milkshake?

      I live near a stretch of Windsor Pkwy just outside Atlanta that went from a slummy all black neighborhood with run down single story duplexes and a liquor store on every corner to a largely white community with well landscaped two story homes and respectable businesses. The community involvement is that the white community leaves Atlanta and moves outward, and the black community moves inward.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Livin' in ATL

    wow, Atlanta is a community of counties. Sure a few places in some counties are suspect but not all. I love the far west of metro Atlana.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. MoonRidr

    I think the cops in Atlanta should save their breath. The city has earned its reputation, and judging from most of these comments, they have certainly done their part in that.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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