reply to post by onequestion
You are approaching this from the correct angle.
I am a supervisory LEO and have spent 19 years in law enforcement...local, state, and federal. I am not sure how much people outside of law
enforcement understand this, but what we are seeing are indeed just numbers based on what is reported. These numbers do not magically appear, they
have to be input by humans. The four-digit NCIC offense codes for various calls that an agency responds to are fed into what is known as a NIBRS
report. This is what the DoJ usually touts as "crime rates". However most people ignore the human factor.
I do not know the law or SOP regarding exactly how honest an agency must be when entering codes into NIBRS, but everywhere I have worked we have been
encouraged by administrative brass to either downplay incidents or falsify records outright.
Here is reality. I have lived it, for better or for worse...
This is how the mentality works on a local level...same can be applied statewide or federally. Let's say your town forsees the need for a new high
school. Big bucks for any area! But the tax base just isn't there yet, and residents will complain if their tax rate goes up dramatically. So let's
lure more people to bring their families and children to town! How can the police department help? By making it be a nice, cozy, safe place.
But wait a second...what about that bar down the street that has all of those fight calls we respond to? What about the larceny, vandalism, and brawls
at the annual biker rally down at the lake park? Oh no, can't let potential residents know about all of those calls we had! So what do we do? Code
most of those calls as a generic "call for police service", "assist citizen", or some such. Heck, if we get 10 calls in an hour, to one area, and no
arrests are made, let's lump that all into one single code for one call for service! Nobody will ever know, we won't get caught, and our department
will keep looking like heroes to the general public-- gotta love those LOW crime rates
On the flipside...want a federal grant for some nice shiny new weapons or night vision devices? Why, we need a higher crime rate to make that happen!
Let's code every minor dispute call as an alleged assault, threat of violence, etc. Have reporting parties twist their statements to make situations
look worse, which makes US as the PD look better! Make every arrest we can and charge them with everything we can (the judge will dismiss the little
things later)....etc etc etc...tricks of the trade.
Wow I hope that makes sense! It's early over here...
ETA: Dynamike, I was typing this as you typed yours above...thanks for the perspective. I have been blessed with working on a relatively quiet small
town PD, then just working highway with the state police, so I have not experienced nearly as much violence as it sounds like your jurisdiction has.
edit on 20-9-2013 by therainmaker because: Other reply was typed when mine was, and I wanted to respond.