FBI annual crime statistics inconsistent with city data

The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report for 2010 showed that crime increased in both the city of Macon and Bibb County last year. These reports are easily accessible and often a starting point for any person or event coming to Macon when crime and safety are concerns.

The report shows 708 violent crimes reported in the city for 2010, four more than the previous year, and 231 for the county, an increase of 56.

According to the Macon Telegraph, Bibb County Chief Deputy, David Davis, stated that there was a software glitch in the reporting of the country figures that combined simple assaults, misdemeanors not reported in the FBI report, and aggravated assaults, which are felonies and are supposed to be reported in the Uniform Crime Reports.

With this report coming out alongside reports on the recent wave of violence in Macon and on Mercer’s campus, it may seem difficult to accept that there has been less crime than reported; however, these statistics, like all others, must be evaluated for what they are.

The number of aggravated assaults in Bibb County in 2010 should be 66, according to Davis, but that number was combined with simple assaults, which led to the FBI’s number of 170.

Not counting the 104 simple assaults, Bibb County actually saw a decrease in violent crime from last year, down to 127 in 2010 from 132 reported by the county in 2009.

The FBI reported 175 violent crimes in Bibb County; however, that has been attributed to the same software glitch.

Some other data points were not consistent; for example, the county reported 12 cases of arson, but the FBI report shows zero.

As of now, it is unclear as to why this inconsistency exists. Variations in other crimes, such as property crimes, were much smaller than those found in violent crime. According to the city, burglaries and auto thefts saw the largest increase from 2009 to 2010.

There were discrepancies in the city’s figures as well; for example, Macon reported 24 rapes in 2010 and the FBI reports 34; furthermore, there were smaller discrepancies in the number of aggravated assaults for the city. Macon’s reports show a decline in violent crimes from 734 in 2009 to 689 in 2010.

Research returned no other cities or counties reporting such discrepancies in the FBI statistics. Many news agencies had reported on what the FBI reports contained for their locality, but none were disputing the figures. The FBI relies on statistics from local enforcement agencies to compile the Uniform Crime Reports.

Multiple attempts were made to contact Chief Deputy Davis; however, when he returned the calls, he declined to make any further comment on this issue.

The FBI has given local agencies until December 31st to amend their data.

Currently, there has been no indication by the city or the county that they will or will not submit revised reports.