Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Police? How statistics can say what you want them to

It's that silly season, when candidates try to out-do each other in promises and ideas. But many of them, as is usual, are calling for more police.

In today's Blade, the Mayor "scolded" those who say we need more police officers in Toledo.

"Mr. Finkbeiner suggested some media and some political candidates overemphasize crime. "Every wannabe politician is out there waving the flag, easy flag to wave, 'We need more police,'" Mr. Finkbeiner said."

Never mind the fact that Carty Finkbeiner did the same thing when he was a candidate for mayor, calling for a force of 700 sworn officers within 16 months of taking office...another case of 'do as I say - not as I do'?

What I found interesting was this quote: "...the mayor said reported crime in Toledo for the first four months of 2007 was down by 14.4 percent compared to the same period last year..." - the key being reported crime. Of course, the reporter points out further down in the story that reported crimes against persons and property as of April 30th was actually up by 1,164 over 2006, which means that other crimes must have been down in order to give the 14.4% figure the mayor quoted.

But I go back to that key word - reported. There have been many stories and complaints that, for minor crimes, police are not responding to the scene, but are asking citizens to come into a precinct to file a report. Unfortunately, I fear that many, when faced with being told to 'come down and file a report' will perceive the effort to be futile and not bother.

Since we only know of the reports that are actually filed, we really don't have a good handle on the amount of crime that is occurring. We don't know if the number of people who fail to file a report is large or small, nor the impact that number would have on our crime statistics.

Since this reporting policy has been in place for a number of years, the crime statistics should at least be comparable year to year. But if we made it easier for people to report crimes - or had enough officers to actually respond when a crime is discovered - I can't help but wonder what our crime statistics would be...and whether or not citizens would think we need more police, no matter what the mayor says.


Roo said...

Maggie - In talking with many people in different walks of life I am constantly told that people don't want to even bother to call because they know that the response times are sooooooooooo slow. Then there are others that say that they call for everything and get brushed off. There is no happy medium.

But then it goes back to perception. And if you call TPD you are (generally) believing that your call is the most important. And that's not totally unreasonable, just uninformed as to the process. You and I talked about that a while back.

I am very disappointed in Carty's back-peddling on the TPD class. It's yet another magnificent promise made in the heat of political hubbub that is now equated with just another publicly told lie. Is it any wonder that the general public has become apathetic and disconnected when it comes to taking ownership of our city/county and generating pride and determination?

On another note - Carty was SO off to compare Toledo to Pburg. There is never a loss of life that is inconsequential. And to make such a twisted rationalization in his comparison was truly ignorant and unconscionable. And to those families that have lost loved ones, for any reason, I apologize for the lack of compassion our Mayor has shown.

Now I'm done venting in yet another one of my moments of frustration after being sucked in by the empty promises of a career politician.


Jay Ott said...

I wonder if Carty is now a "wannabe" statistician.

The mayor has a track record of drawing false conclusions from valid premises and jumping to conclusions from false premises. Either way, the end result is the same, lack of good judgement.

So, I find anything the mayor says hard to believe. I think this is what Mr. McNamara means by Carty's "political gamesmanship."

If the mayor hasn't completely lost his credibility yet, he is certainly well on his way.

-Sepp said...

I could add 2 car break ins and at least 2 acts of vandalism that went unreported.

Carty's comparison between Toledo and Perrysburg TOWNSHIP...not the city mind you...is idiotic. Why not compare our murder and crime rates with Bono while he's at it?

I think we could use a few more cops on the street myself but, if we added 50 cops it's still no guarantee that they will be any closer the next time I need one. I can listen to my scanner and hear the cops getting bounced around like pinballs all night. And, one thing that everyone forgets is that everytime a cop has to make an arrest, he's tied up for a minimum 1-2 hours dealing with it which is 1 less patrol car out there.

Maggie said...

Well, I figured everyone else would be hitting on Carty for the camparison of Toledo to Perrysburg Township...so I skipped over that mistake...

jay ott - I think a lot of people agree with you...

-sepp - you were one of the examples I was thinking about when I made the post...

-Sepp said...

We could hire 4 cops at the same or, less cost than what it takes to have ONE Mayor!

Suit1999 said...

Maggie, have you been to the website for Newt's project americansolutions.com?

If you haven't, check it out. I think what he's planning and talking about on that site can be a blueprint for change/success in Toledo/Lucas County.

Chad said...

I can tell you from personal experience that there are NOT ENOUGH Police in Toledo.

Mayor Nitwit and His Cheif lacky, Navarre, are not only un-able to control crime, the spread of dieases like drug lord and protitution rings, they waste their time and our money keeping people from exercising the 1st amendment and lawfully going about their business....Which in my mind, makes them criminals.

Deriliction of duty and the fostering of ill-will are the hallmarks of the Finkbeiner administration.

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