Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong addressed a series of incidents that have cast a shadow on the his department, which he said has reduced crime nearly five percent in 2013.
Two neighborhoods in South Memphis were ranked by a real estate website as among the nation's most dangerous neighborhoods. The group who reported the data says residents who live in the dangerous neighborhoods are more likely to become crime victims.
Director Armstrong, though, has no idea how the real estate company got their data.
"One, we don't know who the company is that put the report together; two, we don't know where they got their information from," he said.
Director Armstrong says his stats don't support what NeighborhoodScout.com has compiled.
"Frustrated more for the citizens," he said. "you have people in those neighborhoods, caught them by surprise."
While the real estate research website used information collected by the FBI and police departments, they didn't say how their group crunched the data. Armstrong says he wasn't included in talks.
"It's irresponsible of them not to reach out," he said.
Compared to this time period in 2012, Director Armstrong said violent crimes in each of the so-called dangerous neighborhoods have dropped slightly. Plus, he notes slightly more than 23 percent of those crimes in the Gaston area were thefts.
Switching gears, Director Armstrong tackled Monday evening's bizarre wreck of a cruiser halfway up a pole near Whitehaven High School. Police say Officer Jonathan Bond lost control of his cruiser while chasing a seatbelt violator.
"You get to a point on this job you say I've seen absolutely everything," he said. "There's nothing that can shock me or surprise me you get something that shocks and sup rises you."
Some tourists may get their shock-value after they see controversial billboardS that states "Enter at your own risk, this city does not support public safety." It's paid for by the Memphis Police Association. Director Armstrong says he doesn't agree with their tactics to play politics, especially with high tourist season in full swing.
"If you're a family looking at that and trying to decide whether you want to spend night or weekend in Memphis, certainly that's a factor that's going to negatively influence you," he said.
So far this year, there's been no homicides in either of the so-called dangerous neighborhoods. In all of last year, there was one homicide in each neighborhood.
As for Officer Bond, he was issued a citation for failure to maintain proper control and striking a fixed object. No injuries were reported.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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