Sunday, April 5, 2009

Georgia Ranked 12th Most Dangerous State Based On 2007 Crime Statistics

Decatur, GA
CQ Press issued its "Crime State Ranking 2009" report last month showing Georgia to be the 12th most dangerous state to live in based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2007, the most recent statistics available. The state has moved up 7 places, from its spot as 19th in the rankings since the last report.

Researchers working on the Crime Across America report used statistics reported by local jurisdictions involving six crime categories including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft in their analysis and scored each state against a national average.

Georgia ranked in the top 10 in at the categories of murder, rape and motor vehicle theft. However, academics and police officials have disagreed with the rankings and attempted to dispel the validity of the report.

"I would be polite," says Robert Friedmann, criminal justice professor at Georgia State, "and just comment that the methodology of that data is severely flawed. I think what they are doing is using zip codes."

Frank V. Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, says numbers alone paint an incomplete picture.

"Everybody will interpret the data in the way they want to," he says. "If they’re not happy, they might say cops are writing too many traffic tickets and not arresting enough people. People who support law enforcement might say differently."

The report was compiled by Scott and Kathleen O’Leary Morgan. A spokesman for the researchers, Ben Krasney says, "The numbers in the book are a starting point, a reference point for further research".

Burrell Ellis, Dekalb County Georgia's newly elected CEO, spoke about rampant crime in that county during his State of Dekalb County Address in February, saying "When it comes to public safety, the current state of DeKalb County is unacceptable. We are not safe".

"Crime continues to rise and many of the crimes committed are of a violent nature.", Ellis said. "Too many of our senior citizens live in fear. Families are concerned about home invasions, which are occurring when they are away and sometimes when they are at home in the shower, around the dinner table and even when they are in their beds asleep. This is unacceptable."

Crime in that part of the state has also had an adverse effect on business owners and educational institutions.

Ellis told citizens, "...Businesses are concerned that when they close their doors for the evening, they will find in the morning that they have become the latest targets and victims of burglary."

"Students who have chosen to pursue education at one of our institutions cannot walk to and from their cars, or go to dinner or a movie without the fear of being approached by someone who points a gun in their face and tells them to ‘Give it up.’ This is unacceptable." said Ellis.

Ellis' remarks came just days after ordering former police chief Terrell Bolton to go on administrative leave pending an investigation into Bolton's conduct while serving as chief of the county's police department. Bolton has since been terminated from that position.

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