Survey: Smoketown 14th most dangerous in U.S. - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Survey: Smoketown 14th most dangerous in U.S.


LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB Fox 41) -- A new survey says Louisville's Smoketown is the 14th most dangerous neighborhood in the United States.

The survey released Monday from NeighborhoodScoutReports.Com and Location Inc. takes FBI crime statistics from 2008 and applies them to every Census tract in the country.

It says one in nine people in Smoketown could be the victim of a violent crime -- murder, rape, robbery or assault in a year's time.

That compares to 1 in 115 for Louisville as a whole.

It also says one in seven people could be the victim of a property crime such as burglary, theft or auto theft.

That compares to 1 in 16 for Louisville as a whole.

The survey ranks Smoketown as the 14th most dangerous neighborhood in the country, in the middle of its top 25 violent areas that include Chicago, Atlanta and Cincinnati.

The survey web site does not disclose its exact computations for the neighborhoods, other than their origination with annual FBI crime statistics from 2008. 

"You can mix numbers and all that," said life-long resident Darrall Bendingfield.  "But it does disturb me."

Bendingfield spoke from the intersection of East Breckinridge and South Shelby Streets, a specific place pinpointed on a map included with the survey.

The survey area covers an area from Broadway south to Kentucky, and from I-65 east to the CSX railroad tracks.

Bendingfield told Fox 41 News his impression is that crime is... "not the same since the 80s and 90s when the crack epidemic hit the area.  We're starting to bounce back from it now."

FBI statistics from 2009 made public in June show some crime reductions in Louisville as a whole, but those numbers could not be sorted late Monday for the Smoketown Census tract referenced in the survey.  The survey company did not disclose its methods on its web site, other than to say it uses special algorithms with the FBI data.

Smoketown leaders read the survey Monday.

One sees a positive in higher crime stats.

It may mean people are more willing to report crime and have increased trust in police.

"They rather think this is something they grew up with and they live with. So a change in that view is a positive change for any neighborhood. So it's an indicator of positive health," said Joe Gliessner, executive director of New Directions Housing Corporation.  New Directions has long had an interest in the neighborhood.

Gliessner and others believe Smoketown is slowly improving, with a new Presbyterian Community Center child care center and new Jackson Woods apartments about to open.

They also hope the city will demolish Sheppard Square public housing and replace it with new homes and businesses.  The city awaits word from the federal government next month on a grant to speed up that process.

"People recognize at the end of the day this is a historic neighborhood and has a lot of positive attributes and could be a place to live or quality of life center in the next ten years," said Bill Gatewood, executive director of the Presbyterian Community Center.

Read the Smoketown numbers and look up your own address through these links:


Louisville Metro Police want to study these numbers -- and just how the survey crunched them to neighborhood level, before they comment.  Smoketown is in the fourth police division.  It has been the target of concentrated patrols and crime prevention programs.

No one from the survey returned our calls Monday. 

Neighborhood Scout and Location Inc offer packages of real estate, crime and school data for sale, particularly to prospective home buyers and real estate agents.

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