Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crime reports: Are all of them made?

Posted By on Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 7:55 AM

CRIME STATS: Do they tell the whole story?
  • CRIME STATS: Do they tell the whole story?

A New York Times article focuses on a New York city problem that I suspect is replicated many other places.

Some question the accuracy of crime data because they think many crimes go unreported. In this account, many go unreported because cops discourage the filing of official reports. Some of it is the simple futility factor (I think of the multiple incursions into my street-parked clunker for petty thefts and the unrealisic expectation of crime scene analysis or arrest of the bums responsible.) But also:

Crime victims in New York sometimes struggle to persuade the police to write down what happened on an official report. The reasons are varied. Police officers are often busy, and few relish paperwork. But in interviews, more than half a dozen police officers, detectives and commanders also cited departmental pressure to keep crime statistics low.

What's your experience, in Little Rock or anywhere in Arkansas? Have you been discouraged from filing police reports? In 39 years of answering news desk calls in Little Rock, one of the most frequent complaints I've received has been about police taking crime reports by phone but not making immediate site visits for, say, residential burglaries. I tend toward sympathy with police on this. So much crime, so little time and manpower. So little chance of gathering meaningful evidence at the crime scene as opposed to, say, a pawn shop. That said, police response was fine on my two home burglaries. You?

(SPEAKING OF CRIME STATS: Note that the count of 24 homicides shown through October 2011 has zipped up to 37 as of yesterday.)

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