Los Angeles police officials have announced reforms to improve the accuracy of the city’s crime statistics, saying reporting errors undermine the public’s trust in the department, according to the Los Angeles Times. Crime reporting “is a critical aspect of what we do,” said Assistant Chief Michel Moore, noting that the data is used to determine where to assign patrols units and develop other crime fighting strategies. “Garbage in equals garbage out.”
Under the plan, supervisors, clerks and detectives are undergoing training to better understand how to classify crimes under federal reporting guidelines that police departments nationwide are supposed to follow. A new rule will place the onus on station supervisors to classify crimes correctly. The change come after a Times investigation found the department reported a significant number of serious violent crimes as minor offenses. The errors artificially lowered the city’s official crime figures. Police Chief Charlie Beck said the Times report had been “the impetus for a lot of” the reforms. The reforms come as the city is poised to finish the year with an increase in violent crime for the first time in more than a decade.