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Burglaries misclassified as thefts in Milwaukee despite evidence

A new Journal Sentinel investigation found more than 900 cases that should have been classified as burglaries but were marked as thefts by Milwaukee police since 2006, showing Milwaukee's crime data problems extend to property crimes. Reporters Ben Poston and John Diedrich found had the cases been properly coded, the tally of burglaries would have been 2.4% higher than reported during the past four years. Burglaries have risen 6.5% since Police Chief Edward Flynn took office. The findings are based on a review of incident report summary narratives that were compared with the FBI crime reporting rules and shared with crime-coding experts who independently agreed that a sample of the cases should have been coded as burglaries. A spot check by the Journal Sentinel of a dozen misclassified reports revealed three cases where officers wrote that a supervisor had ordered them to mark the cases as thefts, despite evidence they were burglaries.

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