The OC Register published an interesting article on Sunday regarding a steep decline in crimes-solved statistics during the last decade (sorry, it’s behind the OCR paywall).
Predictably but prematurely, the dementors of the Anaheim politics are crowing. Cynthia Ward, in typical hyperbolic fashion, headlines her post “The Register Blows The Lid Of More Dirty Secrets of the Anaheim Police.”
That’s not what the OCR article does, but as usual, she and her fellow travelers see what they want to see. For example, Ward writes:
“What is clear is that even when APD numbers appear to reflect better rates of crime-solving, it’s because of a shift in reporting standards, not an increase in actual criminals pulled off the streets.
Taken in context with her salacious headline, Cynthia implies the APD is cooking the books, while doing less crime-fighting than advertised – neither of which can be reasonably concluded from Kyle’s article.
The article is very, very long and chock-full of details and information that is well-worth pondering and investigating further. But in essence, what appears to be the case isn’t cooking the books, but more accurate and consistent application of standard FBI crime definitions. The more reasonable conclusion to draw from Kyle’s article is that pre-2002 compilation and reporting of crimes-solved statistics left something to be desired:
Condon said police have grown wiser about the FBI’s statistical definitions and now count the number of solved crimes correctly. The definitions themselves haven’t changed.
Tait and Welter also said the Police Department’s old numbers might be inflated. To back up that allegation, police pointed to the biggest drop in crime solving from 2005 to 2007. Police adopted a more robust reporting system during the same period with three additional analysts and new automated software.
Tait was convinced that actual crime solving hasn’t changed over the past decade. If the golden age numbers were corrected, he said, the city’s clearance rate would probably be level with recent years.
“It’s more of a data thing and a classification thing than maybe an actual reflection on the police service,” Tait said.
So exactly what lid is being “blown off” here? Where are the “dirty secrets?” Is Cynthia Ward disputing the measured, sensible judgment of Mayor Tom Tait on this matter? Or is this just an opportunity for her and others like Steve Perez/Luke Skywalker to stick pins in their personal political voodoo dolls?
The ACLU, naturally, takes the opportunity to somehow link Kyle’s findings to its campaign for a civilian police oversight commission:
Others, however, connected the revelation to an ongoing City Hall discussion about police transparency and calls for additional oversight.
Bardis Vikili, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the statistics fit a theme of police leaders saying one thing and officers doing another.
“What you hear from the Police Department is Anaheim citizens should feel safe and everything is covered,” Vakili said. “Things don’t seem to be going as well as they’d have you believe.”
Vikili’s reckless claims are balderdash. The article presents no evidence of cover-up or deception by the police department, and there’s no reason to believe a civilian commission would have had any impact at all on crime-clearance reporting. The ACLU and its allies on the Left are acquiring the habit of waving the oversight commission proposal like a bloody shirt anytime there is crime news in Anaheim, claiming it demonstrates the need for civilian oversight commission.
Kyle’s article is informative, raises issues that ought to be discussed to see if further action is necessary, but it hardly evidence of “dirty secrets” or misdeeds.