Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 6, 2013

KPD says crime data is wrong

City underreported thefts to FBI in 2012

— Kokomo police are changing the way they collect and file information on local theft cases, after mistakenly reporting a 34 percent drop in thefts in 2012.

Crime data sent last month to the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated Kokomo had 660 fewer thefts in 2012 than the year before, an unprecedented drop Kokomo police were unable to immediately explain.

Tuesday, Kokomo Police Chief Rob Baker said those numbers failed to include more than 700 instances of theft where officers did not make a formal report.

Last year, Baker said, officers were allowed for the first time to forgo a formal report under certain circumstances, at the officer’s discretion.

If the case was minor, if there were no suspects or if the victim wasn’t able to give serial numbers from missing items, officers were able to simply allow emergency dispatchers to take information and generate a case number, which the victims could then use to send in to their insurance, Baker said.

Allowing officers to default to a “dispatch-generated report” was an attempt to free up officers’ time, so officers could be out on patrol more and in the office less, he said.

Last week, the KPD ended the experiment with dispatch-generated reports, Baker said, because the reports don’t meet FBI guidelines.

Local law enforcement agencies are required to report murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts and auto thefts to the FBI, as part of the Universal Crime Report system maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The UCR data is used for a myriad of purposes, from media reports to academic research. Local officials use the data to compare crime problems in cities with similar demographics.

Baker said the FBI requires local agencies to collect “pertinent information” on every case, including names and addresses, and sometimes personal information such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

That information wasn’t collected for the dispatch-generated reports, so those cases weren’t reported to the FBI, he said.

“The problem is that over the phone, your dispatchers and front-desk personnel can’t ask you for pertinent information,” Baker said. “A lot of people won’t give their Social Security numbers over the phone.

“If a police officer is there in person, and is taking the information down, that’s one thing. But over the phone is something else.”

Baker and Maj. Brian Seldon said they weren’t aware of a problem with the data until the Kokomo Tribune questioned it last month.

Since then, the department has gone back to taking formal reports for every reported theft, and has begun looking into other ways of streamlining the report-taking process.

Baker said Howard County sheriff deputies are already able to complete reports using the computer in their squad cars.

He said the KPD is talking to a software vendor in hopes of moving to a similar system.

“We’ve corrected the issue, and we’re looking at ways of becoming more efficient,” Baker said.

Baker said the department won’t be correcting the FBI numbers, because there is no way of going back and collecting all of the required data missing from the dispatch-generated reports.

That means the data for Kokomo will permanently show a 34 percent drop in thefts between 2011 and 2012, and will presumably show a similarly large increase when the 2013 data is reported next January.

In the nine years prior to 2012, the number of thefts in Kokomo had not increased or decreased more than 6 percent in any one year, according to the UCR data.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

To enjoy home delivery

of the Kokomo Tribune


For a Kokomo Tribune

eEdition Subscription


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Miami County struggles through computer shutdown PERU (AP) — A northern Indiana prosecutor has harshly criticized other officials in his county for not adequately dealing with computer problems that have effectively brought some business to a halt. Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Miami County governme

    August 1, 2014

  • Waterford Place looks to 11 senior living duplexes to campus More senior living options could be on the way in Kokomo.Waterford Place Health Campus, located in the 800 block of St. Joseph Drive, is looking to expand with 11 new senior duplexes after receiving approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission’s plat com

    August 1, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3.Several of the suspects – including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics – were set to sta

    August 1, 2014

  • NWS - Summer Fest 02 Russiaville Summer Fest starts Friday RUSSIAVILLE — You think you can knock a baseball out of the park? There's a contest for that. If you love to sing, there's an activity for that. If you're afraid to sing but know the words to your favorite song, there's an activity for that, too. The

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • July 2014 has been the coldest on record Veteran Indiana residents are familiar with the old adage as it pertains to weather: "Hang out, it's sure to change." And, change it has. Just 24 months removed from the hottest July on record in 2012, the National Weather Service announced late Thur

    July 31, 2014

  • One injured in motorcycle crash A 50-year-old man suffered chest injuries when he crashed his motorcycle at Washington and Lafountain streets Wednesday afternoon. A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Tommie Barger of Kokomo was driving a 1983 Honda 1100 south on Lafoun

    July 31, 2014

  • BMV offering driver tests in 11 languages INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now offering drivers tests in 11 languages other than English that are spoken across Indiana. BMV Commissioner Don Snemis said Wednesday the decision was made at the urging of businesses, un

    July 31, 2014

  • Tionna Brown 02 Kokomo celebrates Tionna Brown's gold medal victories Little boys with pretend gold medals around their necks fought Wednesday to get their pictures taken with a pint-sized superstar who had won three real gold medals for herself. Twelve-year-old Tionna Brown just returned from Texas after competing in

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • KFD Rescue 2 Staffing changes leave Kokomo Fire Department with one rescue truck

    A shift in how the Kokomo Fire Department is staffed and responds to calls has some firefighters worried they will not have access to all the equipment they need. City officials, however, maintain there will be no change in the quality of service pro

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kokomo Police officers reach out to public Tuesday Kokomo police will be out in full force Tuesday in area neighborhoods. In addition to their regular patrols, officers will be out getting to know residents and the issues they may have as part of National Night Out, a crime prevention event. National

    July 30, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.