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Monday, June 8, 2009

Mayor Franklin responds to 'second most dangerous city' claim

As expected, Mayor Shirley Franklin took issue with today's AJC article that a cited a Real Clear Politics'  blog post in which Atlanta was tagged as the second most dangerous city in the United States. The mayor says the blog erred in its calculations and failed to take into account the city's seven-year record for reducing crime, which is roughly the same amount of time Franklin's been in office.

So sayeth Franklin in a press release:

Real Clear Politics claims that the City of Atlanta’s crime rate is over 16%. According to the actual FBI data, the crime rate in Atlanta is only 8.7%. (The FBI shows total crimes in 2008 of 46,381 and a population of 533,016. This translates to a crime rate of 8.7%.) In other words, the political blog’s Atlanta crime rate is double the actual rate. Also, in the most recent issue of CQ Press’s crime rankings - which is considered the authoritative source for comparative crime data - the City of Atlanta ranked 16th in overall crime rate. Just last week Forbes magazine issued a list of the 15th most dangerous cities in the country. Atlanta was not on it.

Don't trust Forbes' list-icles, as they are mined from a bottomless pit of census data to generate pageviews.

Franklin goes on:

Finally, the real story is the steady and dramatic improvement in Atlanta’s crime rate over the past 7 years. In 2002 the City of Atlanta was ranked 3rd in the CQ Press rankings and we are now 16th. In that time the city’s crime rate has dropped from 11.2% to 8.7%, which is nearly a 25% improvement. Perhaps more importantly, our rate of violent crime is down nearly 40% over this period.

By any measure, the City of Atlanta is safer now than it has been in decades.

(crickets)

Decatur Metro wrote a good post on how RCP's analysis — and the entire issue of comparing cities' crime rates — is apples and oranges. We've got an interview request in with the RCP folks to let them defend themselves and their analysis if they'd like. We'll update if we hear word.

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