Denver police acknowledge errors with 1,000 crime reports, prompting internal investigation

The Denver Post: The Denver Police Department has discovered problems with 1,000 of its crime reports, prompting an investigation into who is responsible for the errors and whether someone intentionally fudged the numbers.

Inaccurate data or false reporting can damage a department’s credibility, said Jim Ponzi, an associate professor of criminology at Regis University in Denver who has researched crime reporting and its impact across the United States.

“The biggest thing of all is how do you stop crime if your statistics are inaccurate?” Ponzi said Tuesday. “Where do you dedicate your resources if you don’t have baseline data?”

For now, the department is unable to finalize its 2017 annual crime report as it digs into why the numbers are flawed and who is responsible, said Sonny Jackson, a police department spokesman.

“If there’s something wrong, we’ll drill down on it,” Jackson said. “The chief believes they’ve got to be as accurate as they can be.”

Jackson would not specify which categories of crime statistics are flawed or from which of the city’s six police districts the reports originated. The audit found about 1,000 crime reports that were problematic, about 1 percent of the total crime reports filed in 2017, Jackson said.

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