FiveThirtyEight noticed that the FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report, the first released under the Trump administration, was missing 70 percent of the data tables that were included in past editions. The feds fired back, alleging a “false narrative” and claiming that plans to “streamline” the report date to 2010. FiveThirtyEight’s data sleuths are not convinced.
Millions of records are missing from databases that might disqualify gun purchases based on criminal convictions or mental problems. Experts say these systemic breakdowns have lingered for decades because officials decided they were too costly and time-consuming to fix.
Among the documents was an FBI memo describing a meeting in which Cuban exiles tried to set a price on the heads of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “It was felt that the $150,000.00 to assassinate Fidel Castro…was too high,” the memo noted. They settled on more modest sums: $100,000 for Fidel and $20,000 each for Raul and Che.
The FBI says homicides rose nearly 9 percent last year over 2015, but a deeper look at the numbers suggests that a significant portion of the increase can be traced to individual neighborhoods in a few big cities.
The FBI says overall reports of violent crime increased by 8.6 percent in 2016, and homicides were up 4.1 percent. One analyst called the increases “ominous,” following similar upticks in 2015. Others point out that crime in the U.S. is still at modern historical lows. “What’s going on?” asked another expert. “No one really knows.”
ByErin H. Kimmerle, Thomas C. McAndrew and James Markey |
A federally funded database called NamUs provides free forensic and analytical resources for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases. But unless all states make it mandatory for use by local authorities, its full potential won’t be realized, say three Florida researchers.
The FBI alleges that the chief contract negotiators for Fiat Chrysler and the United Autoworkers Union colluded for six years to enrich themselves, skimming cash to pay for trips, jewelry and a Ferrari. They succeeded by plotting to keep senior union members “fat, dumb and happy.”
In a growing menace, scammers try to extort money after phoning parents or other kin and falsely convincing them that a loved one is being held hostage. They sometimes research potential victims on social media.
Scores of federal law enforcement agencies are ignoring a longstanding legal mandate to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, calling into question the veracity of what is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes.