Hidden 'health effects' of fudged crime stats

Submitted by:
Val Van Brocklin


A couple of months ago, I wrote here on PoliceOne about something I call the Fudge Factor — that is to say, ‘cooking the books on crime stats.’ In the sidebar article I used the analogy of healthy eating to offer some ideas on replacing fudged crime stats with something better for all of us — that is, to have ethical chiefs and sheriffs.

As with many health threats, some are aren’t as obvious as others and don’t make the headlines. Here are four ideas to consider...

1.) Pressure to fudge crime stats breeds cynicism amongst rank and file cops. Cynicism can be an energy and initiative killer. It’s also fertile ground for corruption.
2.) Fudged crime numbers can breed cynicism amongst the citizenry. When citizens are cynical about the police, they don’t trust them. When the community doesn’t trust its police, police work is more dangerous.
3.) Fudged crime stats can create a false perception of public safety. Communities whose improvements (on paper) show they need less resources could lose those resources—and still face the same amount of actual crime on the streets.
4.) In the process of fudging crime stats, crime victims can be re-victimized when their reports are down-graded, discouraged or ignored. That, in itself, should be a crime.

Add your own ideas on this topic in the comments section below. 

As a state and federal prosecutor for over 10 years, Val’s trial work has been seen nationally on ABC'S PRIMETIME LIVE, Discovery Channel's Justice Files, in USA Today, The National Enquirer and REDBOOK.

Described by Calibre Press as "the indisputable master of entertrainment," Val is now an international law enforcement trainer and writer who appears in person and on TV, radio, video productions, webcasts, newspapers, books and magazines. She has been a regular contributor to a number of law enforcement publications and has been featured in the Calibre Press Online Street Survival Newsletter, Police Chief magazine, The Law Enforcement Trainer magazine, and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette.

When she's not working, Val can be found flying her airplane with her retriever, a shotgun, a fly rod, and high aspirations. Visit Val at www.valvanbrocklin.com and info@valvanbrocklin.com

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