Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crime Stats

Someone left a response on one of my previous blogs and mentioned something about our crime stats per the GBI being better than some other (or a lot of other) metro counties.

Here's my take on crime stats... they can be manipulated with ease.

I know it's anecdotal evidence, but I have talked with folks who have been robbed and not seen the incident ever show up on a crime report or in the paper.

Robberies can become miscellaneous incidents with the flick of a pen. People can be talked out of filing a report for any number of reasons in any number of ways (I know of at least one myself). Store owners choose not to have thefts reported as they know it will stop people from shopping at their stores.

A store in Fayetteville was robbed three times at gunpoint per different individuals working at nearby stores. Different people at different times told the same story. I may have missed the stories, but it's hard to believe I missed three different incidents in the paper.

I know of another store that had someone break in through the roof once, someone broke out the front glass and they had another break-in of some sort, don't remember the details. I never read about it and neither did the store owners.

I could tell tale after tale along the same lines as those. I'm out in the community a lot and talk to a lot of people. Ask almost any store owner in the county if the crime is getting worse and see what they have to say "off the record".

Years back I worked at Southlake Mall as a store manager. I'd close the store at night and walk out to my car alone and not think anything about it. Well lit parking lot, a security guy driving around periodically in those cute little glorified golf cart vehicles.

We had a bunch of retirees who'd come to the mall every day and walk, talk and hang out. They are the ones who told me about the two rapes in the parking lot over a two or three week period. I never heard it from the mall security, never read about it in the news, never had the police come around and warn us to be careful. Some of the retirees started coming at night to walk the ladies out to their cars.

I asked security about it and was told there had been a few incidents they were concerned about but nothing to worry about, they'd beefed up security. Ha. It happened again. Never did hear it officially.

Stores don't like to report crimes. The police don't like to report crimes as it makes them look like they're not doing their job. Not saying that we have a crime wave here or anything along those lines, just saying I'm a bit skeptical about the stats. Just an opinion, not something I could ever prove.

I have lived here close to 30 years now and I know the changes that have occurred in the County. I know there's an increase in crime, I don't care what the stats say and quite truthfully, I don't care if we stack up better than other counties. I want us to be better than the best like we always have been.

And, I prefer the truth, unvarnished. If crime is going up I don't want it candy-coated. I want to hear what is being done to stop it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that deliberately manipulating crime statistics is against the law.

And if the statistics were manipulated to make fayette look safer (which I very highly doubt), why would such manipulation take place only here in Fayette County? Are you suggesting that our crime rates are lower than Cherokee's or Forsyth's (in every published GBI category) because our public safety officers are better at breaking the law and tampering with records?

"Gut feelings" and "listening to rumors" are not good indicators of the crime in our community.