Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Crime Statistics: View With Healthy Skepticism

Law enforcement agencies submit statistical information about crimes. No matter how uniform or standardized the submission procedure, there will always be some departments who choose to deceive their employers (the citizens of their communities) about criminal behavior and their department's response to it.

On January 19, 2005, Whitecaps posted Evaluating Crime Statistics. It included an explanation of the ways departments can "clear" crimes and how those clearances are reported. It alluded to but did not discuss in detail the ways departments report clearances deceptively.

In its Sunday, September 23, 2007, online edition The Miami Herald had an article authored by Dan Christensen. It was about the Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO) and was headlined Probe: BSO closed out violent cases wrongly -- A long-running crime statistics investigation at BSO includes accusations that deputies also wrongly closed out cases of violence.

And that's an example of why every law enforcement agency's crime statistics should be reviewed with a healthy skepticism. Some will be honest; some will be deceptive.


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