Tuesday, June 26, 2012

FBI can correct only 2 years of police data - Milwaukee police chief had pledged to fix errors dating to 2006 (Chicago Style of Reporting)

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told aldermen last week that the department misreported more than 5,300 aggravated assaults since 2006 as minor offenses.

Although he pledged to correct those errors with the FBI, the agency's national crime reporting program only allows revision for two years after crimes are reported.

Stephen Fischer, spokesman for the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services division, said the Police Department can revise its crime data for 2011 and the current year.

But any changes made in last year's figures will not be reflected in the FBI's Crime in the United States 2011 report to be released this fall, because "the publication process has passed the point where we can make adjustments," Fischer said.

That means thousands of serious assaults misreported by Milwaukee police since 2006 will not be included in the FBI's annual crime reports for those years.

In all, figures from an internal department audit show 20% of aggravated assaults were underreported as lesser offenses that didn't get counted in the city's violent crime rate during that time. That error rate is 10 times higher than the accepted standard, a crime coding expert said.

Fischer did leave the door open for future revision. He said Milwaukee police should submit revised data to the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, then the FBI will determine "any future course of action" on updating its records.

"The FBI is always willing to work with states (and) agencies to ensure the most accurate data is represented in the UCR," Fischer said.

Tami Jackson, spokeswoman for the state Justice Assistance office, said that while the FBI accepts revisions to crime data for up to two years, the state agency will allow Milwaukee police to send corrections to their data as far back as necessary.

However, the office will not make any revisions to previously published crime reports available on its website.

"In this unique and specific case, OJA has decided to relax our edit (and) validation parameters for a three-month period to allow MPD to submit adjustments to previously reported crime data," Jackson said. "At the state level, we made this decision to have better quality data even if that data is historical."

Milwaukee police officials did not respond to questions for this story.

The internal police audit released last week echoes the findings of a Journal Sentinel investigation in May of a more limited pool of cases that identified in excess of 500 misreported serious assaults over a three-year period. The newspaper's review found more than 800 additional cases that fit the same pattern but couldn't be checked with available public records.

The Journal Sentinel has sought those 828 incident reports through an open records request. Flynn said it will cost more than $10,000 to redact information and provide the reports. That's more than twice what it requested in 2010 for providing about 750 such reports, an issue that long has been tied up in court.

The state Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday on whether the department can charge fees for redacting parts of the reports.

The internal department review also determined that almost 1,200 minor assaults were overreported as aggravated assaults during the past six years. Overreporting means those assault cases should have been classified as minor offenses.

When the FBI reviews crime data reported by states, the goal is to find less than a 2% error rate for all crimes, said Daniel Bibel, director of the crime reporting unit for the Massachusetts State Police. An underreporting error rate of 20% for aggravated assaults is 10 times higher than the accepted benchmark.


Anonymous said...

How odd. Isn't Milwaukee run by the democRAT party.
They never lie!

I Voted For Obama said...

Chief Edward Flynn voted for Obama, then reported that...that...that...oh forget it. He would have reported it wrong anyway.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that called: OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT

Anonymous said...

Felonious Midget aka Ratboy files false reports pretty much everyday.

Midgets with badges are the worst.

Anonymous said...

How much money does he get paid, To do his job wrong

Anonymous said...

Gee, Chicago needs to correct over 20 years of bad data!