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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Significant Events in Crime Reporting (Part 2)

On the heels of numerous other posts concerning lack of transparency in Charlotte’s government, and particularly with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, many have been inquiring particularly following up about the Crime Reporting numbers and their accuracy.  As promised, here is Part 2, though slightly different than originally planned because of the intensity of inquiries surrounding the Significant Event Log.  Citynewswatch thought you should hear directly from the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the CMPD (sort of).  Here is what he had to say about the log when they stopped sending out to media sources at the end of 2007:

From: "Fey, Robert P." <>
To: Media Release <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:49 PM
Subject: Significant Event Log

Clarification as to why we are no longer e-mailing the WC Log:

I understand there are some misunderstandings about why the Watch Commander's Log no longer being emailed and wanted to clear that up. I apologize if we weren't clear when we introduced it to you yesterday.

We are no longer emailing the Watch Commander's Log because we don't need to. It is now available to everyone on our web site, although with significant improvements.  The WC Log was only kept after hours and then emailed in the morning -- so you had to wait for it, and it was typically only shared with CMPD personnel and media.  The new Log now covers 24hours, is updated on our web site as close to real time as information becomes available and now everyone has the opportunity to view these events without worrying about being on a distribution list.  That means citizens have better access to this information, which augments with 911 Calls For Service feature that has been online now for a few months.

Please call me if you have any questions.

Robert P. Fey | Public Affairs Officer
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
601 East Trade Street | Charlotte, NC 28202
704.336.2338 o | 704.619.4169 c | 703629  pl

A sample of the Watch Commander reports that used to be sent to media is at the end of this post, since it takes up some extra space.

Here’s a sample of the data that used to be available on-line from approximately the last time it was known to be available to the public on the City’s web site:

Crimes Reported on 07/05/09
Thread Started on Jul 5, 2009, 2:06pm

5000 The Plaza
Division 07 North Tryon
7/5/2009 02:37 Robbery from Person - Armed
3 B/M victims were at 5042 The Plaza when a 2000 Blue Dodge Ram Pickup pulled up occupied by 3 H/M suspects, 2 H/M s exited the truck and demanded the victims' wallets. The truck was last seen traveling along The Plaza towards Milton Road. No shots fired, no injuries. The H/M suspects were in their early 20s and both were wearing gray pants and dark colored shirts with long belts. 1 had an 'M' tattooed on his forehead and the other had an 'S tattooed on his forehead. 1 was armed with a handgun.

W. 26th and N. Tryon Street
Division 02 Metro
7/5/2009 02:23 ADW-With Injury
Male victim was shot in the vicinity of N. Tryon and W. 26th by a suspect that he could only describe as a tall B/M. The victim was initially thought to have NLT injuries, but once he got to the hospital he was rushed to surgery and is currently in critical unstable condition. ADW responded to the scene.

4000 Conway Avenue
Division 26 Westover
7/5/2009 00:37 Robbery from Person - Armed
2 female victims were walking from the railway when they were approached by a B/M suspect who pointed a small black handgun at them and took one of the victim's purse. The other victim knew the suspect and when she called him by name, he dropped the property and ran away. No injuries, no shots fired.

None of this material is available to the public anymore.  Citynewswatch would love to publish a more current explanation of this disappearing data phenomenon from CMPD’s PIO, but according to all sources, they simply will not answer almost any questions right now.

If you read this earlier post, Crime Reporting Questions and Jealous Reporters? , see that this Significant Event Log information is only one piece of the information needed to check against the Crime Statistics being reported by the Chief and his team at the CMPD, because the numbers don’t add up.

Throughout documented months of public records requests, the CMPD has stated that the numbers involved are not public record.  This is not the case.  To date, Mayor Foxx and the City Council will not assist to compel production of these records, or to have them put back on the web site.

They will not respond yet that they are investigating the reported Crime Statistics, based on the information presented to them that numbers may be either mistakenly or intentionally misrepresentative of actual crime in Charlotte.

It seems that presenting a “safe street story” is more important than accuracy.  Maybe this is related to the upcoming DNC 2012 fervor, but it seems that actually having safety would be better.

Aside from the Significant Event Log disappearing, the Calls for Service are also gone. If you try to find an Incident report, you must have the full report number AND the victim name in order to get the report on the one available public location, which makes it impossible to look up anything unless an officer gave you your own personal report number and your name.

As for using the crimes search engine by location, if you’ve ever tried to use it, you may be laughing right now.  It may be useful in a couple of ways, but has some serious drawbacks—and definitely does not assist in analyzing the reported crime statistics.

First, it’s incredibly slow and cumbersome.  Second, either officers are not reporting MANY crimes into the system, or the system is not showing MANY crimes.  There will be specific examples of this in Part 3.  Third, there is no way to download the data, to look up the data for an entire street, or for any number of other ways.  You must click on a map and use a choice of radii from there to get information for a date range.  It’s definitely not comparable with the reported Crime Statistics.  Not at all. 

Are the missing Calls for Service and numbers of Reported Crimes accounted for with write-offs to Miscellaneous Incidents?  That’s another question the CMPD will not answer.  But if the event logs and calls for service were released, everyone would know right away what was going on.  Maybe that’s the point.

Reiterating calls from Citynewswatch and story Rodney Monroe’s Plumbers, here is some of the public information that CMPD needs to release:

1)    Calls for service

2)    Significant Event Log

3)    Correct Uniform Crime Reporting Numbers, as they relate directly to the numbers above

4)    Internal Affairs reports

5)    Minutes of the Civil Service Board

6)    Complete Police Department Budget

7)    Complete financial accounting for the CMPD Blue Hornets baseball team, an alleged charity, funded by public money and unknown sponsorships….

8)    Public documents submitted and approvals for all the “upfits” (as they have been termed) for the police buildings and the money sources for each

9)    A public explanation concerning why the TASER International purchase was approved by City Council after TASER International came to give their all-day-lunch-training-legal-and-press-training session to CMPD, but before the results of a $70,000 study we are paying for was completed

10) A public explanation concerning why it appears HR rules and CMPD Directives concerning hiring, promotions, and other personnel matters may not be properly followed, but the City Manager and HR personnel refuse to investigate

Mayor Foxx, City Council Members, City Manager Walton, please respond to these important issues at the core of the City of Charlotte operations. 
We deserve a truly world-class city.

Here’s a sample of the Watch Commander reports that used to be sent to media:

From: "Williams, Talma (Tammy)" <>
To: Media Release <>; _CMPD Command Staff <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 7:27 AM
Subject: Summary

Watch Commanders Log

                          Watch Commander's Daily Summary Report

  Tuesday, April 10, 2007          Wednesday, April 11, 2007

 4/10/2007  17:44       10-66       14      University       20070410174400         Williams        J.    

                                                        City Division                                                                             

       Address       3120 Ryan Jay Dr.

   Information     The victim was robbed of her purse at gunpoint by a B/M suspect who fled the scene on foot.

4/10/2007  18:46      10-77        21      Steele Creek      20070410184600         Williams        J.    


       Address       400 Blk. I-77

   Information     York County requested the assistance of our helicopter unit in the search for a homicide suspect.

4/10/2007  19:13       10-66        11      North           20070410191301         Williams            J.    


       Address       4309 Statesville Rd.

   Information     A W/M suspect attempted to rob the victim of her car keys in the parking lot of the Family Dollar Store. No weapons were observed or indicated. The suspect fled the scene on foot.

4/10/2007  21:19       10-65        26      Westover       20070410211900         Williams          J.    


       Address       5518 South Blvd.

   Information     A masked W/M suspect armed with a handgun approached the drive-thru window of the Taco Bell Restaurant and robbed the employee of cash from the register. The suspect was last seen fleeing the scene on foot.

4/10/2007  23:50       10-94        11      North            20070410235002         Williams            T     


       Address       10611 Roxbury Court

   Information     Victim in this case advises that someone was shooting outside and one shot hit the bedroom window.  The first window pane broke, but the second one did not.  No one was injured.  No suspect info.

4/11/2007  00:04       10-52        16      Providence       20070411000400        Williams         T     


       Address       Castleton Road/Lomax Ave

   Information     This was a one car accident in which the car struck a tree.  Driver was transported with injuries to the head and leg, but NLT.  Officers are also attempting to determine if the driver is  intoxicated.

4/11/2007  02:51       10-66        11      North           20070411025100         Williams           T     


       Address       3437 Kelsey Emma Court

   Information     Victim advises that he was robbed by a B/M and a B/F.  Victim advises that they were at his home and when he would not give them money, they pushed him down and took the money by physical means.

4/11/2007  04:49      10-71        07      North Tryon       20070411044900        Williams        T     


       Address       4435 The Plaza

   Information     Officers arrived at this location and did find this white male walking around in his  boxers.  The male appeared to be okay except he is intoxicated and the officers are  having difficulty communicating with him because he  is deaf and can not speak.  Officers are working on getting a sign language member on site and they have been checking all the local facilities in an attempt to see if they know him.  Officers were still working on this at 0715.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog, very well written. Keep up the good work.