Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oakland mayor: Data flawed, initiative still valid

Short-staffed police department burdened by crime initiative based on flawed data
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan acknowledged that her 100-block crime initiative was based on flawed data, but she insists that her crime plan is nonetheless valid and sound, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

For eight months, Quan has erroneously claimed that 90 percent of the city's homicides and shootings occur in 100 of the city's 6,560 blocks - and that propping up these areas would essentially reduce violence citywide.

Quan admitted she did not thoroughly examine the data that led to her error on what is arguably the city's most pressing issue: violent crime.

The plan she unveiled in October almost immediately drew criticism because it contained few details, and she refused to name the 100 blocks or disclose the data on which she based the plan. Earlier this year, her office posted a low-resolution map of the areas identified as the most violent 100 blocks.

The department had 837 officers in December 2008; on Wednesday it had 642, the lowest in department memory, according to the Chronicle.

Experts on crime have said 100 blocks were far too much for a short-staffed police department to cover. Asked how the department could devote increased resources to areas that are apparently much larger than 100 blocks, Quan said, "They can only do their best."

"As mayor, I probably should have taken more time to analyze the data myself and read it myself," Quan told the Chronicle . "I didn't. I'll take full responsibility for the error of using that particular statistic."

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