Without recent changes in how alleged crimes are reported, Dallas’ crime would have dropped only about 7 percent in 2008 rather than the 10 percent that was recorded, says the Dallas Morning News. The difference is due to new policies aimed at eliminating the reporting of crimes where there’s no evidence that a crime occurred. Police say people file baseless police reports for all kinds of reasons. They may be seeking to defraud their insurance companies. They may be mentally ill and believe somebody burglarized them. They may want revenge on a former boyfriend or girlfriend. For example, on Jan. 15, a woman told police that someone had taken $50,000 worth of jewelry from the safe in her home over a 12-day period. But there was never any evidence of a break-in.
Under the new procedures, officers are being told to classify an incident as an investigation, and fill out an “investigation of” report, if there’s no evidence that a crime has occurred or if the complainant’s credibility is in doubt. In the past, many incidents were automatically reported as crimes when there was no proof a crime had occurred. In 2008, police officers filed 4,229 “investigation of” reports that would previously have been recorded as serious crimes. About 950 were later reclassified as serious crimes and were recorded in the city’s crime statistics. Police Chief David Kunkle is trying to change a culture among Dallas officers where they fill out offense reports for any incident they check into. He said there should be proof that a crime occurred before it is counted as a crime.