After Washington, D.C., officials proclaimed that crime had dropped last year, it turns out that violent crime reports jumped nearly 9 percent, the Washington Post reports. Police revised the yearly crime tally after turning up major discrepancies in their crime databases. An internal review uncovered crimes that were misclassified or not counted. The new figures show significant increases in assaults and robberies, in marked contrast to the preliminary tallies released at year’s end. Police officials first flagged questions about the record-keeping last summer and have been working to reconcile the numbers. They made no mention of these problems when they provided the rosier crime outlook in December.
At the end of 2006, departing police chief Charles Ramsey was taking credit for bucking a national trend of increased violent crime. Chief Cathy Lanier, who took office in late December, said the review is continuing but she does not believe there is any impropriety in the undercounting of criminal offenses. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee, said he believes Ramsey intentionally gave residents the impression that the city was safer than it was. “They were playing with the numbers. Sooner or later, it catches up,” Baumann said. “You’re going to find a lot of manipulation and cherry-picking of numbers.”