This couldn’t be happening in Eureka too, could it?
A recent article in the LA Times caught our attention. We’ve been talking about this problem within the Eureka Police Department for quite some time now. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The Los Angeles Police Department continued to struggle in accurately classifying serious assaults last year, according to an audit released Tuesday.
The audit comes after a Times investigation last year revealed that the department had routinely misclassified serious assaults as minor offenses that weren’t counted in the city’s crime rate…..
Jay Wachtel, a criminal justice professor at Cal State Fullerton, said the audit findings indicate that fives times as many mistakes were made in under reporting serious attacks compared with over-reporting minor assaults.”
This is a major issue and we’ve been receiving information for quite a while that EPD has been under-classifying violent crime AND property crime. When you look at all of the homicides in Eureka in the last 3 years, taking place in a town of under 30,000 residents, you have to wonder how the Slick Chief keeps getting away with claiming violent crime is down. Well, the LAPD audit found out what was happening in LA, and that’s exactly the way Mill’s EPD has been fudging the numbers. There’s a minor difference in the departments however. In LA, they have independent audits to verify the information. In Eureka we have…….nada.
If it seems fishy to you that the violent crime rate in Eureka is down, even though the number of homicides are WAY up, then take a look at some of these previous posts below. It’s time for an audit of EPD’s crime reports. It’s time from some honesty and transparency. But knowing the City of Eureka, we probably won’t get either.
We’ve called this out before:
“In what was ostensibly an informational piece about how burglars operate, Mills sticks up his little selective graphic chart to put a positive spin on his tenure and to bolster his departments flagging public image. What’s our beef?
Because in December and January we were in the middle record breaking residential burglary spree!…….Come on Chief, you really thought you were gonna blow that by us?…… You release information after a seeming lull in the burglaries and take some credit for the illusion of a decline. The fact is you failed to warn people months ago when the burglary crime wave was peaking. Your response was to order your line officers to start only selectively taking reports, which of course frees up some officers, as you stated at the time, but it also skews the numbers so no one can make a meaningful comparison anymore.”
“A few unintended consequences seem to come up from this tactic, though. First, on the graphs provided by EPD the city’s crime index for June of 2013 was 176. June of 2014 was 201. That’s an increase! What isn’t included in the graphs is the amount of calls for service, along with a comparison of “CAD (Computer assisted Dispatch) Documentation” vs. “Crime Reports Taken” from 2013 to 2014. That might shed some light into the shady accounting practices at EPD.
Also, since EPD is claiming that crime is going down along with EPD’s staffing, doesn’t it stand to reason that LESS funding for EPD would also mean a lower crime rate? The answer is, yes. The fewer officers there are at EPD would also mean the less crime reports that are taken and written. That means that the crime rate goes down. It doesn’t matter that the city is more violent, people are victims of theft more often and the quality of life is getting worse and worse. The fact is that EPD is taking fewer reports, so the statistics will show that the crime rate is getting lower.
Thank you for your legacy Murl Harpham, and the rest of the Old Guard. Your failure to address problems and take reports has the intended consequence of making Eureka less safe, with statistics that don’t paint the real picture. Instead of a crime-ridden cesspool, the legacy of Murl and his heir is a lower amount of reported crime, therefore making Eureka the next Mayberry (unless you live in Eureka).”
“However, many sources in the department have told us that reporting has changed within EPD. Not so much a policy change, but a definite change in practice. In the past, if someone purposely hit a citizen with a vehicle then that would be classified as an assault with a deadly weapon (a 2000 lb car is an obvious weapon in that manner). Also, in the past, if someone tried to hit a citizen with a baseball bat, but missed, then the report would be reflected in the ADW stats (These days they probably will not take a report, but instead offer you a worthless “documentation” number). In fact, there was a time in this city that a person trained in martial arts who hit a grandmother in the face with his fist might be charged with “Assault with a deadly weapon”. Would that happen under Chief Mill’s new Statistical Model? Most likely not.
The fact is that Mills wants you to suspend your disbelief and just trust in their reported statistics. Even when those statistics show that you were more likely to get killed, raped or robbed in Eureka in 2014, than you were in 2013. It seems from the outside like an unorganized revolt is starting with individual officers breaking ranks. Some are expressing their dissatisfaction to friends and some are finding ways to get the word to us. For the well being and safety of the town we can only hope it grows.”
Even the Lost Coast Outpost wrote about the numbers game: