LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- You may have heard it in conversation, or see it pop up in your Facebook feed: "Little Rock is becoming the most dangerous city in the country," but is it true?
The scene was heart-wrenching for parents as they picked up children from a home daycare on April 27. They learned the woman running it, Shirley Jackson, was killed in a drive-by shooting
"She was very special. She's always ran a daycare center, always doing for the kids, always helping out in the community,” said Jackson’s nephew, Joe Stephens, who is still in disbelief.
"It's so unreal. We still can't believe this actually happened. She was laying down; kids [were] taking a nap; she was killed in her sleep," he said.
Jackson was the city's 20th homicide this year. In the weeks to follow, 52-year-old Tamela Jones was added to the list along with Israel Choxon. No arrests have been made in any of these murders.
Last week, the bodies of 32-year-old Amanda Murillo and her 15-year-old daughter were found in a car. 25 homicides total for the city of Little Rock have prompted a public outcry.
On THV11's Facebook page alone, people began to write: “What in the universe is going on in Little Rock?”; “Little Rock is out of control”; “Little Rock is the number one most dangerous city in America right now.”
But are those claims true?
THV11 works to Verify it in a segment where we find out whether something is fact or fiction. Then, show you where and how we got the information.
CLAIM: Little Rock is the most dangerous city in America.
VERIFY: Little Rock Police admit that crime numbers are up, but according to the F.B.I., Little Rock ranks eighth in the U.S. in violent crime and fourth in the U.S. for property crime. Therefore, this claim has been Verified as false.
Little Rock Police Lt. Steve McClanahan admits the numbers are up and said there's a gang connection.
"These are second generation gang members, so they grew up in that environment. That's all they know. They didn't have any positive role models in their lives, so this stuff is starting to repeat itself," he explained.
But back to the question, is it the most dangerous city in America? Lt. McClanahan said cities don't compare their crime rates, but the F.B.I. does. From the most recent data from the first half of 2016, Little Rock ranks eighth in the U.S. for violent crime, and ranks fourth for property crime. But police caution that cities report crimes differently.
"So we do caution with that but we also want to be honest and transparent with the community. The numbers don't lie and our numbers this year if you look are definitely going up especially in violent crime," Lt. McClanahan said.
Lt. McClanahan told THV11 the latest numbers in Little Rock show 78 more people have been shot, but survived. Police also responded to 944 calls of shots fired.
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