Isn’t it always the way? Sometimes the lines between naughty and nice get blurred. Some of the Arkansas towns we love and laud as the best decorated or most spirited at Christmas time happen to have the least reason for Santa to visit this year. Based on statistics from neighborhoodscout.com, these Arkansas towns may be decked out in finery this season, but the crime rate data collected shows that a lot of naughty things went down in these locations last year.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Located north of its better behaved neighbor Booneville in Logan County, the town of Paris appears to be one of the wilder locations in west Arkansas. Paris' population is approximately 3,500. Last year, 273 crimes were reported in the town; 238 of the crimes were property related and 35 offenses were violent.
Nashville, Arkansas has a population of nearly 4,600 residents. Out of this number, five residents were the victims of violence and 290 residents reported property crimes last year. It's official: you need to lock your valuables up and protect yourself even if you live in a small town.
The town of Crossett can do better when it comes to behavior. A total of 365 crimes were reported last year.( You could look at that as adding up to one offense for each day of the year.) Twenty-seven of the crimes were reported as violent and 338 offenses were property related.
For a relatively small Arkansas city (the population was a little over 7,400), Osceola has a bit of a problem when it comes to being naughty. A total of 558 crimes were reported last year in this town; 99 of the offenses were violent and 459 were property-related crimes.
Oh, Trumann, what happened? In 2014, 649 crimes were reported out of a town with a population of nearly 7,250 residents; 589 of the crimes were property-related while 60 offenses were violent. Northeast Arkansas needs a reputation boost for Christmas, especially after the ASU gun-and-propane related trouble that was covered by media a week ago half an hour away in Jonesboro.
Newport gets a bad reputation on town lists, but surprisingly the town hasn't been as naughty comparatively speaking to other locations in Arkansas. Last year there were 637 crimes reported with 28 of them being violent offenses. The remaining 609 crimes were property related. It can't be said enough: lock your doors, no matter how big or small the town.
10. Helena/West Helena
It's a little disappointing to see a location as fun as this on this list of naughty towns, but it's here. The home of the King Biscuit Blues Festival has a population of nearly 6,500 now and last year 994 crimes were reported. (That's way too much misbehaving for a small town.) Of those crimes, 846 of the offenses were property-related and 148 of the misdeeds were violent.
9. Forrest City
Forrest City, much like a lot of east Arkansas, wasn't on its best behavior last year. The town reported 1,215 crimes overall in 2014 with 135 of the offenses being violent and 1,080 being property-related crimes.
Even though it's one of many east Arkansas towns undergoing positive change, Blytheville had a total of 1,516 reported crimes in 2014; 235 of these crimes were violent and 1,281 were property related crime. Be careful of where you leave your gifts after shopping--that goes for no matter where you live!
Situated atop beautiful Crowley's Ridge in northeast Arkansas, you'd think Paragould would be above too much criminal activity. However, there were 1,819 reported crimes last year in the town; 1,692 of the crimes were property-related and 127 were violent.
6. West Memphis
West Memphis is an exciting place to be if you're big on gaming and watching races, but you'd better watch yourself when traveling through on the way to Memphis or on the way to Southland Park. There were 1,800 crimes reported last year in West Memphis with 1,507 being property-related and 293 violent offenses.
The gateway to the wild wild west is no longer Fort Smith; Texarkana has taken the crown of the untameable border town in recent years. There was a total of 2,009 reported crimes in Texarkana last year with 1,704 of the crimes being property-related and 305 of the offenses reported were violent.
4. Hot Springs
Thankfully the Spa City is no longer known for being the hideaway criminal mecca it once was during the 1920s and 1930s. In fact, it's recognized as one of the best Arkansas towns to visit at Christmas. That doesn't mean, however, that Hot Springs has been at its best behavior. In 2014, 3,321 crimes were reported in the city; 140 of the offenses were violent while 3,181 residents were victims to property-related crimes.
3. Pine Bluff
One of the best dressed Christmas towns in Arkansas is one of the most notorious for bad behavior. There were 3,582 reported crimes in Pine Bluff last year with 3,121 of the offenses being property-related and 461 being violent crimes.
2. North Little Rock
The capital city itself can't take all the credit for bad behavior, and that's one of the reasons we like having North Little Rock around to shoulder some of the blame. You'd think the crime rate in an area with little to no prospect of expansion (sorry NLR, you're too surrounded to stretch out like west Little Rock did) would be a little less crime-laden. That's not the case, here, though. There were 4,362 crimes reported in North Little Rock last year with the majority of crimes being property-related (3,901) and a disturbing amount of violent crimes (461 reported).
1. Little Rock
Before you start to think your beloved Arkansas town is being picked on during the season of peace, consider the fact that this writer lives in southwest Little Rock--judge as you will. Nobody's touring my neighborhood looking for the best Christmas lights (unless you live in Otter Creek, the last bastion of southwest Little Rock's peaceful suburbia). The rest of the capital city deserves a lump of coal, too. There were a whopping 18,566 crimes reported in Little Rock last year. Out of them, 2,790 were violent crimes and 15,776 were property crimes. You really can't be too careful where you leave those Christmas gifts, I'm telling you.
All right, enough naughtiness. It’s time to talk about why (and if) these towns and cities have done enough in 2015 to put them back on Santa’s ‘nice’ list. Leave a comment telling us about the good things these towns have done this year–or talk about which towns in Arkansas you’d put on Santa’s naughty list, all crime stats aside!