Law enforcement say Tenn. may not be most dangerous state

Law enforcement say Tenn. may not be most dangerous state despite report

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"Knoxville is a very safe city. Tennessee is a safe state. There are pockets of crime in some of the larger metropolitan areas," said Knoxville Police Department Spokesperson Darrell DeBusk. "Knoxville is a very safe city. Tennessee is a safe state. There are pockets of crime in some of the larger metropolitan areas," said Knoxville Police Department Spokesperson Darrell DeBusk.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A recent comparison of crime data ranks Tennessee the top in the nation when it comes to violent crimes reported to the FBI, according to financial news and opinion website Wall Street 24-7. However, law enforcement in East Tennessee say this report may not be accurate.

The study rated each state by violent crimes, poverty rate, and percentage of population with a college bachelor's degree or higher.

Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation say ranking Tennessee as the most dangerous state isn't accurate, because crime varies place to place.

Darrell DeBusk with the Knoxville Police Department says Tennessee tracks crime by the number of incidents. The FBI uses a different system called Uniform Crime Reporting. Therefore, when comparing Knoxville with other cities and states, DeBusk says the odds are stacked against us.

"Basically if you have an incident where you have five different types of crimes that occur, all five are marked in Tennessee. Where in a state that uses UCR, they're only going to report one being the most serious," adds DeBusk.

Law enforcement officers in the Knoxville metro area say the violent crimes encounter are robberies, aggravated assaults, and homicides.

"Knoxville is a very safe city. Tennessee is a safe state. There are pockets of crime in some of the larger metropolitan areas," said DeBusk.

When compiling data, factors like economics, population, and societal issues come into play. DeBusk explains it's also important to look at Knoxville's clearing rate, meaning the number of solved cases or arrests.

"When you compare the state of Tennessee's average at 37 percent, we have a clearance rate of over 45 percent," said DeBusk.

In Knoxville, 18 murders were reported in 2012; nine of those cases cleared. Those numbers are low when compared to other Tennessee metropolitan areas.

In Nashville, there were 62 murders that year with 29 cleared. The city's clearance rate hits at 34 percent.

Chattanooga had 22 murders. Seventeen of those cases cleared, and an overall 29 percent of crimes were cleared.

In West Tennessee, Memphis had 133 murders. Only 70 of those cases cleared, and Memphis reached a 24 percent clearance rate.

Knoxville police say residents can make East Tennessee safer by calling 911 to report crime and by working with police as a community.

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