Monday, June 30, 2014

Denver crime - up or down?

JC made a comment regarding crime increasing in Denver, Colorado since the legalisation of cannabis. This is his link:

According to American Thinker:

The misinformation continues regarding how Denver's crime rate has changed following Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana sales in January. claims that "5 months into legal pot sales, crime is down in Denver."  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Actually, after five months of legal pot sales, crime is way up in Denver.
Denver's crime statistics for the first five months of 2013 and 2014 are available here.  The total number of reported offenses has increased by more than 10 percent, from 17,450 in 2013 up to 19,234 in 2014.

Here are the official crime statistics Vox used for Denver:

There is however another set here.

That set shows crime is up.

So I googled the question,

Why are there two different sets of crime statistics for Denver?

Seems there is indeed a controversy:

Denver's top two law enforcement officials disagree on the answer to what ought to be a simple question: Is violent crime up or down? Police Chief Robert White and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey aren't quibbling over minor details; they have a nearly 18 percentage-point difference in opinion about the way crime is trending. Experts say their disagreement underscores the complexities of measuring and interpreting crime trends in a major city.

White said his figures are based on numbers the department presented to the FBI for its annual Uniform Crime Report [first set above]. He said they are a more accurate reflection of crime in the city than another set of data posted on the department's website that indicates a 13.9 percent increase in crimes against persons last year.
Those are the police department's crime data classified under the National Incident Based Reporting System, which measures the individual crimes contained within a single incident. If, for example, someone is killed during a robbery, the NIBRS [second set] numbers include both a homicide and a robbery. The Uniform Crime Report that White points to includes only the most serious crime, so the same incident would be classified only as a homicide.

Rennison said NIBRS is a better gauge of crime because it offers a broader view of different types of offenses. Driving the 13.9 percent increase in the NIBRS numbers was a 71.5 percent increase in intimidation offenses and a 28.8 percent spike in simple assault, neither of which are offenses included in the Uniform Crime Report, said Chris Wyckoff, director of the police department's data analysis unit.
Crimes such as those seemed higher last year because of a change in the way police officers report them, she said.
Certain citations would be reported directly to court under the old system, so they would not have been captured in the statistics.
I guess the only approach is to ... wait and see.


Brendan McNeill said...

I suspect we will need to 'wait and see' for up to a decade, as children obtain easier access to these products that are now available in everything from cigarette form, through to children's sweets.

Denver hospital emergency marijuana related admissions for children are up about 300% based upon this report.

Could be just a coincidence.

Brendan W said...

The big one is the murder rate.

Other crimes may not be reported or subject to differences of opinion in classification.

But a homicide is a homicide. It is quite easy to determine (usually).

So far it is trending down. So that is quite interesting.