“Crime Memos” Used To Downgrade St. Louis Reports


St. Louis police officers downgrade some crime reports by describing incidents in “Crime Memo Data Sheets” that generally languish in file drawers of a district station, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. While the use of memos does not appear to be illegal, it clearly violates FBI standards for reporting crimes in a national compilation widely used for comparisons among cities. The effect makes St. Louis appear safer than it is. St. Louis has recorded an overall decrease over three years in the crimes it does report – and dramatic drops in all categories except car theft. Police Chief Joe Mokwa said in an interview Nov. 16 that his department adheres to the FBI policy that a full report be made on every crime made known to officers. He refused last week to talk about “crime memos.”

Some police memos obtained by the Post-Dispatch include what would seem to be some serious crimes – burglaries, rapes, armed robberies and thefts. By one supervisor’s estimate, more than 3,000 per year may be written in situations where officers formerly wrote official reports. If 3,000 memos were added to the city’s serious crime total, they would increase it by about 6 percent.sd

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/st

Comments are closed.