An increase in robberies and burglaries has pushed Chattanooga's crime rate higher than that of two of the most dangerous cities in America – Detroit and Atlanta. The Tennessee city’s Times Free Press says Chattanooga ranked 11th among the top 20 for the highest crime rates among U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or more, according to the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies. Local law enforcement leaders question comparisons in the study. “I certainly don't believe that Chattanooga is more dangerous or violent than Atlanta,” said Chattanooga police Chief Bobby Dodd.
The chief questioned the reporting of other cities and stood by the accuracy of Chattanooga's reports. Crime statistics given to the FBI are supposed to follow standardized reporting procedures nationwide and the Ochs Center must trust that those numbers are accurate, said David Eichenthal, center president and CEO. But the report is meant to be more than just a dry recitation of statistics, he said. “We try to go beyond the basic reporting of numbers and try to answer a series of questions about those numbers that will hopefully prompt policymakers and the press to ask more questions,” Eichenthal said.