Are DPS' Crime Stats For Indianapolis Believable?

Since the Public Safety Department failed to turn over crime statistics for 2010 to the FBI for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report, there have been rumblings that the Ballard administration had been cooking the crime stat numbers to make things appear rosier than what they really are. Indeed, Mayor Greg Ballard claimed a 12.8% reduction in crime in Indianapolis as recently as May. The final figures belatedly reported to the FBI show a much less rosy picture, claiming a slight reduction over the previous year and a smaller decrease than reported nationally. Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid explains:
The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety tells Fox 59 News it will send the Federal Bureau of Investigations the city’s 2010 crime statistics, several months overdue and more than two months after federal officials released national numbers.
The 2010 Uniform Crime Report shows a total of 54,650 serious crimes, from murder to stolen vehicles, in Indianapolis. That number is down 4.4% from 2009.
Criminal homicides, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies totaled 9,508. That represents a 2.6% decrease from the year before but less than half the 5.5% national average decrease as reported by the FBI . . .
“I don’t know why those statistics weren’t submitted in a proper manner,” said Jim White, public safety lecturer at IUPUI and former Emergency Management Director for Marion County. “Conservatively saying you ought to have it done within 90 days. There should be no reason why you shouldn’t have it done within 90 days.”
In May, Mayor Greg Ballard announced that progress was being made on what he called the city’s “antiquated” crime reporting system. That day the mayor also announced a double digit decrease in crime in 2011.
“Through the first quarter of 2011, IMPD has reduced crime by 12%.”
When Ballard announced a 12.8% decrease in crime through April 23rdcompared to 2009, he was citing statistics based on Tiburon data, a preliminary reporting system, and numbers that had an “adjustment factor” applied. That double digit decrease was announced the same day the mayor said for the second summer in a row, Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers would be involved in a surge strategy to flood troubled parts of the city with additional officers to fight crime.
Six weeks later, on June 18th, during the first month of the surge, IMPD reported its year to date crime reduction had fallen to a 5.77% decrease, less than half the first quarter double digit decrease. A month later, on July 16th, the year to date decrease fell to 4.1%.
“I think what you have here is more data and you have a more accurate picture and, crime goes up, it goes down,” said White. “Historically the summer months you’re going to see a rise in crime.”
The public safety director’s office did not respond to a request for an interview.