Do crime reports reflect reality?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005

To the editor:

It seems to me, as I look and listen, that something seems to be amiss with the numbers and kinds of crime statistics that are being reported to the council and released to the public.

The most recently released to the council from the Chief of Police through the

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mayor’s office conveyed what I feel are numbers not showing the true plight of our community.

I think we are all familiar with what appears to be a sharp increase in crime; break-ins, assaults, robberies, burglaries and drugs. If you’re not, listen to your friends, relatives, people in the grocery store, Wal-Mart patrons, customers in your business, even in church meetings.

Granted, people tend to add excitement to what happens but they usually don’t pull criminal occurrences out of the clear blue sky.

There is not one person in our city that has not been affected by our high crime in one way or another.

If not directly by danger or threat, we have paid higher prices and been scrutinized or mistrusted because of the criminal behavior of others, check writing privileges being a prime example.

As I thought about what could be done to reduce this high crime situation, my attention was repeatedly drawn to the outstanding and uncollected fines in our court system and the $449,819 of uncollected garbage fees.

Yes, we have had a large increase of delinquency of garbage fees since the city leadership supposedly implemented new measures to collect these outstanding liabilities.To put this in perspective, there are 2,529 customers not paying their garbage fees, over one half of our 5,000 new garbage containers assigned. A crime task force of tremendous effectiveness and added manpower could be financed with this uncollected monies for a long period of time.

There are many other areas of fiscal concern that could assist us in coping with and reducing crime in our city, to be honest, a list too long for us to insist that crime is a top priority in our community.

Surely the crime numbers are true to the best of our leadership’s knowledge.

Surely the crime reports are being written up and not being dropped through the cracks. Surely the conversations I have with victims aren’t fictitious.Surely the numbers reflect my business being vandalized multiple times this year and thousands of dollars lost through damage and theft.

I write this as food for thought. The old saying that numbers don’t lie may be stretching the truth.

Be safe and alert. Crime is spreading faster than a bad rumor.

May God Bless Selma,

Gene Hisel