Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Whose Crime Numbers Are Right, The FBI's or a Local Agency's?

This piece over at the Denver Post has me a bit befuddled. In the piece they state that the FBI's crime stats show Denver's crime was headed downward while Denver PD's crime numbers show it's going up. This is where it really gets weird with DPD claiming their crime stats are accurate while the FBI's aren't.
Colorado police departments send crime reports to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, which then submits them to the federal government. Certain errors, such as minor problems with an officer's report, can cause CBI to reject the entire report, Murray said.

A CBI spokeswoman did not return a call Monday night.

"There is no accountability for the data. It's uniform, but it's uniformly wrong . ... Our data is much more accurate because we require that," Murray said.

Via The Denver Post
Let me get this right, Denver PD sends their crime data to the state of Colorado CBI, which then in turn sends it on to the FBI, but somewhere along the way the FBI data became inaccurate? If, as they claim, an officer's report has problems that cause it to be rejected, is their data really that accurate (even if they "require that") if it contained these erroneous reports that will later be rejected by CBI?

What I really find unusual about this story is that DPD is asserting that Denver crime is worse than the FBI makes it out to be. Usually when an agency complains that the FBI's data is wrong it's the other way around, the FBI's data showing their city to be worse off than the local agency says it is.

This whole story is just weird.

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