Baltimore Sun crime blogger Peter Hermann comments on the challenges of reporting crime accurately, referring to yesterday’s Memphis Commercial Appeal story cited in Crime & Justice News about people complaining that the Memphis police are too good at recording crime, making the city look worse than people think it really is. Baltimore has the opposite problem: people think the cops are hiding crime and that the city is actually worse than police say it is.
Hermann notes that in cases where several crimes are committed in one incident, Memphis reports each individual crime, some cities report only the highest offenses — such as murder. Hermann asks, “If someone is robbed, shot and killed, what is it? A robbery, a shooting or a homicide. Can it be all three? And if you count it as three separate crimes, does that make that incident worse than it really is?”