Real estate website ranks Sarasota among most dangerous small cities

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- A new ranking of the most dangerous small cities in America is raising concerns on the Suncoast. Two local cities are in the top 50, but the list might not be what it seems.

"That's very hard to believe, I mean that's crazy talk," said George Carabasos after hearing that Sarasota ranks as the 19th most dangerous small city in the nation. "I think it’s kind of a joke a little bit."

That was the sentiment of most Sarasota residents when confronted with the list.

Last week, Movoto, which describes itself as a real-estate research site, published a ranking of America's Most Dangerous Small Cities, looking at more than 200 cities with a population between 50,000 to 75,000 people.

And Sarasota landing in the top 20 even surprised part-time resident Ingaboard Sorenson. "We been down here for seasons the last 11-12 years, and I've been here by myself a lot of the time -- my husband works -- and I never felt not safe."

Genevieve Judge with the Sarasota Police Department says the statistics are outdated --- based on 2012 numbers, not 2013 -- and says the crime stats made a dramatic decrease over the course of a year. "The city of Sarasota saw a decrease in ‘part one’ crimes, down 5%. Now part one crimes are your robberies, your murders, your vehicle burglaries...things along those lines."

Judge also says she attributes the city's success to stronger partnerships in the community, as well as focusing on problem areas. "We hired a crime analyst this year to look at our numbers and see where we need to move our resources in order to attack what's going on in the cities as far as crime issues go. So we believe the city of Sarasota is a safe place, but we attribute a lot of that to the work we're doing with our community.”

While most residents say they are comfortable with the police presence as a whole, many just feel it's the people who live here that make it a safe place. "Most of the people in this town are good…I like it here."

The city of Bradenton also made the list at #42, but Deputy Chief Warren Merriman says just like Sarasota, numbers have decreased dramatically.