Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Article on Visit Topeka Page Slaps North, East Topeka

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Article on Visit Topeka Page Slaps North, East Topeka

Article excerpt

When searching for information about Topeka to lure a potential employee, Douglas Stallbaumer said he was shocked to find an article telling people to avoid the east and north sides of town -- especially since he found it on the Facebook page for Visit Topeka Inc.

"We can do better than this," he said in an email to media Thursday morning.

The article, "21 Things You Need to Know About Topeka Before You Move There," was posted by California-based real estate company Movoto. Most of the 21 things were positive, focusing on downtown redevelopment, the low cost of living, and various historic and entertainment attractions.

Item 5, however, advised readers not to "believe all of the crime hype," but they should avoid North Topeka and East Topeka.

The article stated: "As with any city, Topeka has its share of crime which was so bad at one point in the 90s, it was breaking violent crime records year after year. But, while the crime rates in most cities have increased since 2000, Topeka's has continuously gone down, with as much as an 18 percent drop in crime just from 2007 to 2008, which is why Topeka is one of four other cities studied by Michigan State University. Stick to the west and southwest neighborhoods and avoid the north and east and you'll be just fine."

Shalyn Murphy, Visit Topeka communications and marketing director, said they have asked Movoto to delete the last line or to qualify it with more explanation. She said Visit Topeka plans to have a booth at the upcoming Fiesta Mexicana events in North and East Topeka.

"We promote all of the city and all of the attractions," she said. "We don't agree that people should avoid certain parts of town."

Murphy said Visit Topeka regularly posts online accounts from travel writers and other visitors to Topeka on its Facebook page, even if it doesn't completely agree with the opinions they express. On the whole, however, the article showed Topeka in a positive light, she said. …

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