COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A professor in Columbus State University released a new study to look into whether or not Columbus is the most dangerous city in Georgia. Crime stories in the Chattahoochee Valley often make residents anxious and worry about the city.
Dr. Benjamin Blair, an associate professor of Economics at Columbus State University compared Columbus to five different cities: Atlanta, Athens, Macon, Savannah and Phenix City since it is minutes away from Columbus.
Dr. Blair compared crime rates in these communities to find his answer in his research: Is Columbus the Most Dangerous City?
"To make the most valid comparisons, we focused on communities of similar size," Dr. Blair explained. "We measured crime rates per 100,000 population in each city from 2008 to 2012."
It took Dr. Blair three months to finish his research, and the answer he found shocked him.
"Contrary to many people's beliefs, Columbus is not the most dangerous city," Dr. Blair said. "This is positive news for Columbus. We looked at various crimes instead of just one."
There was an increase in burglaries from 2008 to 2009 in Columbus. However, that crime rate has been going down since 2009.
While 2008 and 2009 had the highest crime rates, 2012 had the lowest. Overall, there were significant reductions in the rates of murder, rape, motor vehicle theft, and murder.
Robbery, on the other hand, was increasing in crime rate from 2010 to 2013 in Columbus.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said economic downturn could have played a part in this result.
"Good economy helps reduce crime," Mayor Tomlinson said. "Economic downturn is often related to high crime rates, and many young people tend to commit reckless incidents."
Although crime rates have dropped overall in Columbus since 2008, Mayor Tomlinson said this is not good enough.
"2011, 2012 and 2013 have been the three lowest crime rate years we had in a decade," Mayor Tomlinson said. "January of 2014 had the lowest crime rate for Januaries in recent history. However, this positive news may not be good enough for some of our victims in the community. We will continue to work with the police, neighborhood association groups as well as crime prevention division to continue to reduce the crime rates in our city."
Dr. Blair concluded his research by stating that Columbus has become a safer city in recent years, and it is not the most dangerous city.