Violent crime in Milwaukee soared last year compared with 2004, says the FBI’s preliminary count for 2005. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said questions were raised about the accuracy of the numbers. Milwaukee police adopted a new computer system in 2005, which might make a year-to-year comparison with previous years difficult, if not impossible. Milwaukee had the biggest increase in violent crime nationwide among cities of 250,000 or more, the FBI report said. The surge comes after two years in which violent crime fell in Milwaukee. State officials suggested Milwaukee might be counting crimes differently now from 2004 and before. They also are looking into whether the crime figures reported in 2004 – when every category was reportedly down – were incorrect.
At fault may be the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which collects more details of crime. Milwaukee converted to the system last year with a new $7 million computer system but encountered problems that forced the department to return to paper records for a time. Mayor Tom Barrett said whatever the increase was, it was too high. He said he is trying to bring down crime by supporting police overtime, 40 new officer positions, summer jobs for teens, and other programs.