Chief Flynn hammers home point that crime is falling
Jon Byman and Jodi Becker
Todd Hicks reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee's Police Chief is working to drive home his contention that, despite crime reporting errors in the city, the crime rate is still dropping. It appears today that's true. But, the numbers from a new police department audit of crime reporting also show that for years, crime in Milwaukee has been worse than was initially reported.
But in an appearance on Mid-Day with Charlie Sykes on Newsradio 620 today, the Chief repeatedly hammered home the point that the crime rate is falling. He even suggested that should have been the headline in the news today.
Click Here to listen to the Chief's interview.
An internal audit at the Milwaukee Police Department shows the city's crime rate over the last six years was actually higher than the MPD has claimed. The audit followed reporting by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel which initially found the errors and pointed out they were making the city's crime rate look better than it actually was. The Journal-Sentinel, Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 are all owned by Journal Communications.
The chief says his department hasn't been trying to mislead people about the crime rate. During his appearance on Newsradio 620 WTMJ the chief admitted there were more than 64-hundred reporting errors made over the last 6-years. Most of those errors were crimes being coded as less serious than they should have been.
"We found, yes, dog gone it you're right, there were undercounts, there were misclassifications. There were 1270 misclassifications in 2006." That's the first year a new computer system was used to track the crime data in Milwaukee and Flynn points out there have been fewer and fewer mistakes in reporting made each year since. Flynn did not become chief until 2008. "The number of errors, you would expect, would gradually decline as the police department got a little bit better with this system, and it has."
Flynn also stressed that the errors that were made were nothing malicious or devious, "I would have to corrupt a hell of a lot of people in this police department to get away with this massive, horrific conspiracy to prove that police work doesn't effect crime."
But the department's own corrected numbers show the corrected crime rate was higher than the MPD reported for the last several years. As a year-over-year percentage, the crime rate has been falling, but each year's numbers were actually higher than originally reported.