St. Louis Public Radio News
2:14 pm
Mon September 20, 2010

Slay: Police "less than honest" in reporting crime data

ST. LOUIS –

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is accusing the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department of being "less than honest," in reporting recent crime data.

Changes in the department's crime statistic reporting mean the city may be under-reporting total crime.

A report by the St. Louis Post Dispatch found that the department had recently changed its crime counting methodology to match federal guidelines.

The changes mean that multiple crimes occurring on one block might be counted as only one incident.

The revelations cast doubt on reports that crime in St. Louis continues to drop.

Mayor Francis Slay said that the incident is further proof that the city needs local control of its police department.

"The chief doesn't report to me, the police board doesn't report to me. So, there is a culture that, subconsciously we're not all part of the same team, because if we were, I would have had that information from the very beginning."

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says previous reports that overall crime is down in the city are correct. Earlier this month St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom reported that crime was down 25 percent over the last 3 years.

"If five cars are broken into on one lot, around the same time, that's one incident and it's reported as one incident, with five different victims," Isom said. "That hasn't changed at the police department for many years."

Slay said that it's disingenuous to compare crime stats from year to year, when the reporting methodology changes.