Kansas City, it turns out, didn't see a dramatic 22 percent drop in crime last year. Instead, says the Kansas City Star, it logged a 10 percent increase – the biggest percentage jump in at least a decade. Police officials said the city had 41,870 crimes in 2007, not the 29,474 reported to the state in February. Why were the numbers so far off? Police Chief Jim Corwin cited a transition to a new method of counting crimes, combined with new computer systems; not enough training, so many officers weren't filing reports properly; not enough people entering data, so a backlog grew; not enough communication between the data entry people, who knew there was a problem, and top department officials, and no one person in charge.
After a city audit, the police department realized it had neglected to count thousands of incomplete reports that were lingering in the system. Corwin said that although the new total represents a jump from 2006 – when 37,960 crimes were reported – the figure is in line with 2003-2005, and lower than the six years before that. Several crime categories showed troubling increases last year, including rape and aggravated assault. Those increases pushed the total of violent crimes to its highest level since 1997. Kansas City is the only large city in Missouri to switch to the more-detailed NIBRS, or National Incident-Based Reporting System, from the summary-based reporting system, known as Uniform Crime Reports, or UCR, from which the statistics in this story are drawn.