Crime stats critical to community discussion

In the ongoing dialogue about crime, police department focus and
downtown, the statistics have to be credible. Otherwise, the whole
discussion and any subsequent adoption of strategies and policies
is based on false premises.
In the ongoing dialogue about crime, police department focus and downtown, the statistics have to be credible. Otherwise, the whole discussion and any subsequent adoption of strategies and policies is based on false premises.

When there’s an attempted armed robbery downtown – and we’re talking specifically about the 13-year-old and two cohorts who tried to rob the card club employee at 2:25 a.m. and instead got shot – it has to show up in the crime statistics.

Gilroy Police Department Chief Denise Turner explained in a recent meeting that, since no valuables were procured by the assailants, the incident isn’t included in the official crime stats. That might be the rules for reporting crimes to the FBI, but it takes a huge bite of credibility right out of the apple for the purposes of community discussions. Just ask the card club employee or any downtown merchant if they think that attempted robbery is relevant to the discussion.

The GPD must keep real statistics, regardless of FBI reporting regulations. Criminal incidents are the key, not whether the attempted robbery or mugging or car burglary is a “success.” Honestly, it’s a transparency issue. Whatever the picture is – improving or worsening – it has to reflect reality which leads to a thorough analysis of crime.

Once that analysis is real, there are different strategies that can be considered. If there are a rash of car burglaries in an area, for example, perhaps a recorded phone call can be sent to the neighborhood or a business district.

Gilroy will soon get its first experience with crime monitoring via cameras placed downtown between Fourth and Sixth streets. There are questions about deployment, review and effectiveness, but it’s a technological start that will be carefully evaluated.

It’s important that the GPD discuss how crime reporting to the community is handled and make whatever revisions necessary so that an honest picture is presented.

Without that, discussions and strategies will be handicapped from the outset and progress will be, at best, stilted. That’s not what’s best for Gilroy.

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