Crime Falls—Or Does It? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Crime Falls—Or Does It?


March 28, 2007

The Clarion-Ledger reported on crime statistics for the end of 2006 last Tuesday under the headline "Jackson Crime: Overall Numbers Dip." The headline, and the story itself, appear to be misleading, however, because the claim that crime has dipped is apparently based on selected month-to-month comparisons with 2005 rather on a cumulative year-to-year comparison.

Goliath reports that crime has "fallen by 5 percent," but that figure is virtually meaningless because the paper never states the time period over which crime has fallen. A sidebar to the article states its sources as "Jackson Police Department ‘Crimes by Precinct and Beat,' November and December 2005; January, November and December 2006; and January 2007," which indicates that most of 2006 was left out of the comparison.

If that is the case, crime has not necessarily trended lower since the summer and fall of 2006, when JPD still kept ComStat figures. Police Chief Shirlene Anderson killed that program in October, apparently because the figures were politically embarrassing. Crime was trending 15.2 percent higher over last year then, with a 48.7 percent surge in violent crime.

It is virtually impossible that crime has since dipped lower than the 2005 numbers.

While citizens may take some comfort in the fact that crime in December 2006 was lower than crime in December 2005, crime was already increasing then under the Melton administration and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Moreover, Goliath's story gives the impression that the police department has made progress in combating crime in recent months, which is not necessarily the case.

In The Clarion-Ledger's defense, Anderson's decision to kill ComStat has made it much more labor- and math-intensive to track crime rates. This problem is compounded by Anderson's refusal to discuss crime statistics. Sharon Gray, who oversees JPD's records, has not returned repeated calls from the JFP.

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Previous Comments




Jackson needs a "super duper do-do scooper" to lift these folks up and throw them out of office. (melton, anderson, sore, ward........). Time nor space will allow for a complete list. THIS IS ALL A BIG GAME!!


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