Spartanburg police said they question the ranking of the city on a website's list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the United States.
Neighborhood Scout listed Spartanburg as the 12th most dangerous city in the country, topping much larger cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.
However, when news of Spartanburg's place on the list spread, police in the city of nearly 38,000 people began doubting the validity of the numbers.
Andrew Schiller, founder of Location, Inc., which runs NeighborhoodScout.com, said his analysts used data from not only the city of Spartanburg but the greater Spartanburg area in the tabulation of crime statistics.
"We do this same process for every city in the United States, due to the agency-centric way that crimes are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rather than reporting crime in a location-centric way," Schiller said in a statement to FOX Carolina.
Capt. Regina Nowak of the Spartanburg Public Safety Department said the problem is that the crimes from the greater Spartanburg area are divided against only the city's population and not the population of greater Spartanburg, which causes the numbers to be skewed.
Spartanburg public safety director Tony Fisher said no matter what the website says, the city has seen a continual decline in reported index crimes.
"We attribute this decline to the investment from businesses and neighborhood leaders," Fisher said in a statement to FOX Carolina. "It's also a result of improving quality-of-life issues such as housing, education and youth activities."
Lt. Tony Ivey of the Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office, which is responsible for law enforcement in the greater Spartanburg area, said the ranking is a misrepresentation of Spartanburg and that the numbers were taken out of context.
Schiller said he stands by the numbers. He said he believes that city leaders may need to focus on studying the rates of violent crime in Spartanburg instead of focusing on what he believes is an attempt to obscure the issues facing the city.
"First, it is necessary to recognize that there is a problem," Schiller said. "Doing so is in the best interest for the safety of the residents of Spartanburg."
Fisher said any crime, regardless of Spartanburg's place in a national poll, does not show a true representation of the city.
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
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