DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - According to OnlyInYourState.com, Denham Springs is listed as the 4th most dangerous place in Louisiana, but after reviewing the statistics, the word dangerous may not be the most applicable word to use.
The website used statistics on crime reports from the FBI for 2013 to create the list of 10. The crime rates were determined by adding up all the crimes reported in an area, dividing by the location's population and multiplying it by 1000.
Denham Springs, with a population of 10,102 in 2013, has a crime rate of 205.1 per 1,000 people. The most damaging data came from the number of property crimes and thefts in the city.
According to the FBI, there were 976 property crimes and 768 thefts reported in 2013. That means nearly 2 out of every 1,000 people were victims of a property crime or theft.
"We report everything that's reported to us, even if we go to the event and it's civil, it still goes down as a reported crime," said Chief Scott Jones when asked what is included as a property crime. "Even if it's not that big of a deal, it still goes into the crime report as a reported crime, because that's their criteria."
There were 60 violent crimes, two rapes, 10 robberies, 48 aggravated assaults, and 14 motor vehicle thefts reported for the same time frame.
"We've had three homicides in 16 years," said Chief Jones. "[The Baton Rouge Police] had that in one night. How does that sound to you about us being dangerous?"
If you take out the non-violent crimes in Denham Springs, and recalculate, the city has a violent crime rate of 11.8 per 1,000 people, which is far lower than the original number presented by OnlyInYourState.com.
"There's a reason Livingston Parish and Denham Springs have doubled in size," Chief Jones noted. "They live out there and know that it's paradise. Comparatively speaking, it's a joy. It doesn't need defending, because the it's bad information and the report wasn't done objectively."
Some are questioning why neither Baton Rouge nor New Orleans were listed on the site as one of the most dangerous cities. When looking at the numbers, and calculating them the exact way OnlyInYourState.com did for Denham Springs, the crime rate for Baton Rouge is 118.12 per 1,000 people. New Orleans has a crime rate of 92.78 per 1,000 people.
"You can make statistics say whatever you want depending on how you report it," Chief Jones said. "I've been a policeman for 36 years and I know Denham Springs is not a bad spot. It's not perfect, but it's a good spot."