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No, Memphis is not the most dangerous city in the United States

You may have seen a recent study claiming the Bluff City as the nation's most dangerous metro city in the U.S. We looked into that claim.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In this ABC24 exclusive Verify, we are verifying:

Question

Is Memphis the most dangerous metro city in the United States?

Source

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting, or UCR.

Answer

This is false.

False. There's no statistical basis for determining the most dangerous city in America.

The online financial news site 24/7 Wall Street cited the Memphis metro area with more than 18,000 crimes reported, the nation's highest per capita of 1,359 for every 100,000 people.

The study also cited Memphis with the nation's second-highest homicide rate, increasing by 38 percent, from 237 in 2019 to a record-high 327 in 2020. Memphis police reported 332 homicides that year.

However, according to an explainer by the FBI online, they caution strongly against using Uniform Crime Reporting in such studies. The FBI discouraged using such data to compare cities' crime numbers side by side in such a study.

The FBI said: "Data users should not rank locales because there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place."

The bureau said such factors that impact the volume of crime occurring include: stability of the population, economic conditions, climate and crime reporting practices of the citizenry.

Because of that, the FBI "cautions and, in fact, strongly discourages, data users against using rankings to evaluate locales or the effectiveness of their law enforcement agencies."

So, based on those concerns and others outlined by the FBI on using UCR data, we can Verify the claim that Memphis is the nation's most dangerous U.S. city as false.

At a public event last month, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis told the audience it is the department's goal to reduce violent crime by 5 percent next year.

As of Friday, the department reported 318 homicides, which is inching closer to setting another record high for the second straight year.

RELATED: Mapping Memphis' most violent crime