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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Newsom and Gascon Annouce Drop in Violent Crime A Week After Gascon Admits Record-Keeping Flaws

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 3:15 PM

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​A week ago, the San Francisco Examiner broke this story about how the San Francisco Police Department statistics are botched, and have been for some time, particularly in the area of aggravated assaults. Somehow, the department failed to include domestic violence incidents in that category. Police Chief George Gascon told the Examiner that he expected the errors to be corrected by the end of January.

Then today, the mayor's office sent out a press release congratulating itself on the city's drop in both homicides (down 54 percent from last year) and violent crime (apparently down 10 percent from last year). In case this isn't obvious, aggravated assault is considered a violent crime. So here's the obvious question: why is the city touting a drop in violent crime when the police chief has just told us that the numbers in at least one category of violent crime are flat-out wrong? (Gascon said he also has concerns about other crimes being mislabeled).

And while the drop in homicides (from 98 last year to 45 this year) is a credit to the police department and the mayor, not a single one of this year's 45 was entered into the system as gang-related. Clearly erroneous and disconcerting, to say the least. Calls to the SFPD have not yet been returned.

UPDATE: Sergeant Wilfred Williams, an SFPD spokesman, has gotten back to us. "We realize that a problem did exist n some of the stats that had been used prior," he said. "But we do feel confidant in moving forward that we are addressing that problem and that the stats we put out today are correct."

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Ashley Harrell

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