Bill Hightower, a Republican candidate for Alabama governor, made the assertion in a recent debate. While criminologists say it generally is true that a small percentage of the population is responsible for a large percentage of crime, the politician had oversimplified and convoluted a 2003 study about school suspensions.
A new law that takes effect July 1 mandates reporting and consolidation of data from multiple agencies, including prisons, law enforcement agencies and courts. Lawmakers call it the gold standard in justice data reporting. The information will be available to the public on a government website.
A 15-member panel assembled by the National Academy of Sciences said Wednesday that current statistics collection has left gaps in data about many offenses affecting American life today. It also recommended that the government consider centralizing the control of collecting crime statistics.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo touted a 0.9 percent drop in violent crime last year. The Las Vegas Review-Journal finds that at least two murders were omitted, as were the 58 deaths in the mass shooting at a concert.
Many oft-cited statistics disregard forms of school violence that may not have involved guns but are similar to shootings in intention or impact, says The Atlantic. The messiness of counting school shootings contributes to sensationalizing or oversimplifying a modern trend of mass violence in the U.S. based on information is confusing at best and inaccurate at worst.
Data from the first six months of 2017 showed the cities with the highest murder numbers per 100,000 population. New Orlenas, Detroit and Cleveland rounded out the top five. Chicago came in as number eight.
Long response times can lead to officers recording fewer incidents as crimes. An analysis of data from New Orleans, Detroit and Cincinnati found that as response times go up, the likelihood that a crime will be found drops.
The police department says it “discovered some anomalies in how cases were being classified.” Chief Robert White ordered an audit of the relevant citywide crime statistics. The department has never explained what specific anomalies were found. CBS4 said the crime reports were downgraded in a way that improved department crime statistics.
Economist Qiwei He of Clemson University, studying 2010-2016 FBI data, found that access to health care decreased homicide by 7.7 percent; burglary rates by 3.6 percent; motor vehicle thefts by 10 percent; robbery by 6.1 percent; and aggravated assault by 2.7 percent.
Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), a member of a congressional committee that oversees the Justice Department, said that the FBI should restore crime data missing from its annual report for 2016 and that DOJ should “investigate who approved this change and why.”