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Muskegon city manager disagrees with crime ranking

5:03 PM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Two new lists paint two very different pictures of crime and safety on the lakeshore.

A Farmers Insurance list of the most secure mid-sized cities in the U.S. puts the Holland-Grand Haven area at the top. But another list from NeighborhoodScout.com says Muskegon is 99th on the list of 100 most dangerous city in America.

Muskegon's new city manager says the method used to make the dangerous cities list is flawed.

Franklin Peterson says if the city was dangerous, he wouldn't have moved his family here. "We spent a lot of time learning about the community and visiting the community at different times of the day."

He fears a list like the one on NeighborhoodScout.com has the potential to steer prospective new residents to neighboring communities. Peterson takes issue with the methodology used to make the list. First the crime stats are two years old and the sites' map of Muskegon doesn't match the official one at his desk.

"I kind of stopped as soon as I saw the map was not lining up. In my opinion it lost a whole lot of credibility," says Peterson.

It appears in making the list, NeighborhoodScout.com used crime statistics that did not belong to the city of Muskegon; crimes inside three neighboring townships that the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department would have responded to.

"They are low crime areas, but when you add in their few crimes here and there and do not account for their population, then you have a skewed number for the city of Muskegon," explains Peterson.

Peterson says the list is a bold reminder city leaders need to do a better job telling this story. "How great of a community it is. And pointing that out to people and polishing yourself up where we need to be polished up."

Muskegon wasn't the only West Michigan city on NeighborhoodScout.com's list. Battle Creek came in at 61 and Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Flint were all in the top ten.

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