In Milwaukee where thousands of violent assaults were not included in the crime rate since 2006, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discover that the FBI rarely audits data reported by police.
The FBI's crime reporting program is considered the final word on crime trends in the United States. However, the agency does little to insure the data is accurate. When the FBI does an audit, the reviews are too cursory to identify deep flaws.
In each of the past five years, FBI auditors have reviewed crime statistics at less than 1% of the roughly 17,000 departments that report data, a Journal Sentinel examination of FBI records has found. In all, they've audited as many as 652 police agencies during that time, or less than 4% of the total.
And a Journal Sentinel survey of police departments in the 30 largest U.S. cities found that nearly two-thirds have not been audited in the past five years.
Inaccurate crime data gives the public a false sense of the true level of crime. False data can also be used by policymakers to give people the impression that crime fighting policies are working when in fact they are not. Simply, false data gives the allusion that crime is done when it is actually increasing.
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