The Police Chief and several other officials in Pueblo are up in arms over a book which states the town has the highest crime rate in all of Colorado. One look at this article from The Pueblo Chieftan reveals some interesting points—that perhaps the people in charge are paying a little too much attention to statistics and how they are viewed than the real problems.
Certainly no one wants to be painted in a negative light and that’s part of the reason officials are upset with the “facts” in the FBO’s City Crime Rankings 2010-11. Being ranked at the top of Colorado and #112 nationally doesn’t really do anything positive for the town’s reputation.
“We are a safe community and the public should know that,” Pueblo Police Chief is quoted as saying. The president of the local Chamber of Commerce is concerned that the report hurt’s the city’s image “with prospective businesses and visitors.” The book places Pueblo in the top ranks for crimes of everything from murder and aggravated assault to car theft.
The need for accurate statistics is important and perhaps the data could have been collected or disseminated in a more accurate manner. The Chief states they will be looking at how their numbers are reported and looking at ways to ensure the statistics are correct going forward.
This focus on showing the public lower crime numbers seems eerily similar to the drama that’s been unfolding in New York City over the past several months. There, superiors in precinct stations have become so concerned with numbers that they are sending officers out with quotas, though they contest this isn’t true.
While the situation in Pueblo isn’t focused on getting more arrests like in NYC, it all boils down to the effects of data collection and statistical interpretations on police work. If you have to change the way your numbers are collected in order to present a safer community to the nation, are your statistics really accurate or even worthy of looking at?
Regardless of the crime rate or the way data is collected, there will always be crime and there will likely always be a system of justice in place to keep communities safe and penalize those suspected of criminal acts.