The FBI this week released 2012 violent crime statistics and shows a drop in ranking for Little Rock in the Most Dangerous Cities list. Little Rock fell from #6 in 2011 statistics and #7 in 2010 all the way to #14 for 2012.
Little Rock has held a place in the top 10 since Stodola has taken over as mayor. Stodola’s mayorship was a return to the glory days of Little Rock which had been down in the rankings since their 1994 and 1995 #1 ranking, causing some to believe that Stodola would deliver on his campaign promise of a return to #1 ranking. The most dangerous city ranking was the first time Little Rock had been ranked #1 in any major city ranking.
Mayor Stodola in a press conference this morning expressed his concern over the ratings drop. “We are greatly concerned over this dramatic drop in the rankings,” mayor Stodola says. “We want to assure the people of Little Rock that we will do everything we can to bring Little Rock back into the top 10.”
The Most Dangerous List is combined from the per capita statistics of murders, forceable rapes, assalt and robberies. In 2012 Little Rock had 23 murders, 70 rapes, and 412 robberies per 100,000 people for a total of 505 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This number is less than half of the 1,523 violent crimes reported in 2011.
“We obviously do not want to see this trend to continue, this ranking is part of what makes Little Rock special,” a spokesperson for the Little Rock CVB tells us. “We have asked Mayor Stodola to reduce the number of active police patrols by half throughout the city. We are working with a number of community leaders to add a number of additional gun shows over the next six months.”
The mayor’s office has pointed out that Little Rock is on track for a return to normalcy in 2013. At the end of last month the city was up to 13 murders including 5 in May alone. Although, as the office points out, murders alone will not get the city there.
“Yes we need some people to kill each other, that provides the shock and awe factor that gets us noticed in the rankings,” the Mayor says. “But we need raw numbers too. We need bank robberies and mass assalts if we ever want to get back to the numbers that got us to the top. We are looking to stage a few more robberies in highly crowded restaurants in the coming months. This is something that we have tried with great success in the past.”
A small collection of community leaders have suggested that trying for the the Safest Cities list might be a direction the city should explore. This was quickly discounted due to the complexity and lack of leadership expertise in creating a safe city.