Violent crime in Dallas was down about 12 percent for 2007 and overall crime down about 4 percent, reports the Dallas Morning News. At least part of the good news is because of the way the Police Department now counts some crimes, which was changed to adhere more accurately to national statistical standards. The most serious violent crime murder, is up 8 percent for the year, with at least 202 dead. Last year ended with the city’s nearly meeting Police Chief David Kunkle’s 5 percent overall crime reduction goal, but falling far short of the 5 percent reduction in murders.
Lt. Rob Sherwin, who is heading up the effort to clean up the city’s crime statistics, said the new accounting practices “had a dramatic impact,” but he had not run the numbers yet for the end of the year. Officials realized last year that in many categories, Dallas was not following the rules of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, the annual nationwide roundup for crime statistics. For instance, the rules allow cities to count as one crime a string of vehicle break-ins, so long as they happen about the same time and within one or two blocks of each other. A string of home break-ins, however, count as separate crimes. Also, Dallas followed several other large cities when it began having people who had their cars stolen sign an affidavit swearing to it, which is designed to cut down on insurance fraud. Dallas officers have for years been reporting as aggravated assaults what should have been simple assaults, because there was no serious bodily injury.