TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Terre Haute Police Department is responding to questions about crime statistics in the city.
A new way of reporting crimes to the FBI is causing numbers to rise dramatically.
“We went from summary-based, which, for 80 years meant, if an incident involved multiple crimes, armed robbery, theft, and other things, the way the FBI told us we had to report that was the ‘Hierarchy Rule,’ the highest crime would be reported,” explains THPD Chief Shawn Keen.
But, under the new guidelines, Keen says, “All crimes within an incident are now recorded and, it provides more accurate data, but it also involves an increase in individual reporting because we are going to see more crimes reported. The FBI has put that on its website what they project the percentages through this transition would be for each of the crimes as a result of this new classification system.”
To put it another way, crimes that weren’t counted in the crime statistics before the change, now will be reported creating that increase in overall numbers.
WATCH: See a full presentation from Chief Keen
“But, the most significant increase, for us, was this coding issue,” says the police chief. “That’s the only thing we saw, out of all of the crime categories, that’s the only we saw any increase in, and it was significant and, again, it’s because hundreds of misdemeanor batteries were misclassified as aggravated assaults, which did not meet the definition of the FBI for aggravated assaults. So, now that those are being corrected, we see our numbers are in line with what they were pre-incident reporting for those crimes.”
So, why are these numbers important?
“They’re important to a lot of people because they read them, and they make decisions on whether or not to locate a business here or what they think about a particular city. So, they’re important when sites like that report this using this data.”