There's a very interesting article over at PoliceOne discussing how, in many jurisdictions, crimes are under-reported, wrongly recorded, and generally 'fudged' for political reasons. Here's an excerpt.
Crime data collection, analysis, and pinpointed response help law enforcement agencies fight crime. CompStat is one of the best known such tools for police.
First implemented in New York City in the 1990s, it was intended to map crime and identify problems. NYPD execs would meet with local precinct commanders to discuss the problems and devise strategies and tactics to reduce crime in their assigned area. Resources were then deployed as planned. The regular meetings guaranteed fierce follow-up.
In an effort to demonstrate greater accountability to the citizens CompStat was adopted by many police agencies (although sometimes under a different name, such as ComStat, Citistat, StateStat, Powertrac, FastTrack) ... by the year 2000, more than a third of agencies with 100 or more swern officers reported implementing a “CompStat-like” program.
What CompStat didn’t anticipate is what Robert Zink, Recording Secretary for NYPD’s police union, called the ‘fudge factor’ — the manipulation of Compstat data to make it falsely appear that crime rates have been reduced. Here’s just a sampling:
- In 1996, there was a concerted effort to conceal the magnitude of crime in Atlanta during the Summer Olympics selection process. An audit in 2003 revealed that 22,000 crimes were left out of reports for the previous year.
- In 1998, Philadelphia PD was the subject of a DOJ investigation into under-reporting crime. The practice endured, top commanders said, because favorable statistics made higher-ups happy and helped careers.
- In April 2000 U.S. News and World Report stated that “facing political heat to cut crime in the city, investigators in the [Philadelphia] PD Sex Crime Unit sat on (thousands of) reports of rapes and other sexual assaults.” ...
- In 2003, four New Orleans officers and a district commander were fired for downgrading hundreds of serious crimes to “miscellaneous incidents.” ...
- In 2004, the NYPD police unions publicly charged that the department had cooked the books to lower crime stats and called on its members to share evidence of crimes being downgraded. ...
- In 2005, four Broward County Deputy Sheriffs were fired for fudging crime stats. Denying any knowledge, the Sheriff used the false stats to convince municipalities to scrap their own police departments and contract with the BSO. He also used the stats in his political rise. ...
- In 2010, more than half of 309 retired NYPD officers admitted to fudging crime stats ... They reported heavy pressure from higher-ups to reduce felonies to misdemeanors or to not report crimes at all to make the numbers look prettier.
There's more at the link.
I highly recommend clicking over to PoliceOne and reading the entire report. It provides very important insight into a problem that directly and immediately affects your own security. If you don't know the true dimensions and nature of the crime problem in your area, how will you know whether or not to take additional precautions, or be prepared to deal with specific types of crime?
Food for thought . . .