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Resource ID: #25738
Subject: Crime
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Affiliation: 
Date: 05/30-10/20/2012

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Description

The initial story in the crime data investigation found that from 2009 to early 2012 the Milwaukee Police Department misreported more than 500 aggravated assaults as lesser offenses not counted in the city's violent crime tally. More than 800 additional cases followed the same pattern but couldn't be verified with available records. Subsequent stories found police underreported aggravated assaults even when their own officers were severely injured; police clerks routinely changed dangerous weapon codes to generic ones in a way that allowed violent assaults to be underreported — and escape FBI scrutiny; the FBI's crime auditing process is a fig leaf — metro police departments are rarely audited, and even then the sample sizes are too small to draw meaningful conclusions; Milwaukee police knew they misreported rapes and robberies, but didn't mention this to city leaders or the public; high-ranking department officials raised red flags internally for years that there were problems but the public only heard a drumbeat that crime was down. In addition to these major installments, Poston and Diedrich wrote nearly two dozen follow-up stories that documented the fallout.

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