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Committee Finds Police Did Not Mislead on Crime Stats

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KWMU
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St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa.

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Crime numbers were released Wednesday, along with a report from a committee that studied what led to incorrect data for St. Louis in 2003.

Overall crime in St. Louis in 2004 was down more than 12 percent.

In November St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa acknowledged that crime had been under-reported in 2003, and appointed the committee to review the process.

Committee Chair Ed Dowd, a former U-S attorney in Eastern Missouri, says a transition from paper to electronic reporting led to the mistakes. Dowd says the department was not hiding anything.

"I don't think there was any effort to manipulate the crime numbers to make the department or city look safer," Dowd said. "I think that the numbers now are accurate."

While Dowd says he's confident the crime stats for 2004 are correct, the committee has recommended they be analyzed by St. Louis University.

The committee also reported that memos, left out of official crime statistics, were not an effort by the department to under-report crime.

Chief Mokwa says those memos have since been included in crime reports and assured the public that all calls to police are taken seriously.

"Any individual any victim in this city is important to me," Mokwa said. "I'll leave no victim behind and there's nothing that hurts this organization personally more than any person that feels they were not treated well by the department."

The committee reported the memo's made up less than one percent of total St. Louis crime last year.

Dowd says police officers used their discretion when writing up memos rather than crime reports.

The former prosecutor says most of the incidents reported in memos he reviewed were not considered crimes.

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