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Battle Creek leaders hit back after scathing report by financial news, opinion website

City of Battle Creek (FILE: WWMT)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Battle Creek city leaders are speaking out against an online news article describing the area as one of the worst places in America to raise a child.

Police say the report by 24/7 Wall Street has gone viral and contains inaccurate information. The article cites data like crime rates and graduation rates to substantiate the claim Battle Creek is not a good place to raise a kid.

But city leaders call the report shoddy journalism that pulls local crime and community data out of context. Battle Creek is number 22 on the list of 25 cities. 24/7 wall street is a Delaware-based company that describes itself as a financial news and opinion source.

"The reason we are coming out fighting this is because we felt like we were sucker punched from a far. The folks certainly have never been here," said Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker.

Blocker and other Battle Creek leaders took a close look at the local data the report cites, including graduation rates, the percentage of people with access to activities and the violent crime rate.

"They talked about uniform crime statistics in our community which the FBI states clearly shouldn't be used to evaluate communities because there are a lot of variables in play there," said Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing.

Dearing said violent crime declined by roughly half in the last 17 years.

Chief Blocker said he emailed the 24/7 Wall Street publishers the city's side of the story. They replied with one word, "desperate."

"We're coming up with a different perspective, completely different," Blocker said.

Cricket Brown has lived in Battle Creek more than a decade. She calls the 24/7 Wall Street report appalling.

"I think it's a wonderful city to live in. we're the cereal city come on," Brown said.

Battle Creek leaders fear the impact this article could have on people looking to move here.

"No community is perfect. We're not shying away from facts. We are not shying away from the challenges our community and others have," Blocker said.

Newschannel three also requested a comment from 24/7 Wall Street about the city's reaction to their report. The CEO sent an email saying:

Maybe they should look at census data about the city. It paints a similar picture. They also made the point we never visited the city. I used to live there.

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