Friday, January 20, 2012

Chief Monroe's Recipe for Cooking The Crime Numbers

Just before midnight on January 18, 2011 a black SUV roars up North Tryon street. When the driver nears Interstate 85, he takes the service road that leads to a small northeast Charlotte neighborhood of modest sized homes.

A minute later the SUV pulls into the cul-de-sac on Kingville Drive, as the driver pulls slowly past the mailbox checking the address, the SUV's headlights wash across the front of the house, flooding the living room of the home with a noticeable flash of light.

Instinctively Marquis Owens one of 3 people home, looks out the front window and watches as the SUV comes to a stop. A second later one of the occupants gets out of the vehicle. Owens would later recall. “I looked out the window. I was like, ‘Everybody on the ground, they're about to start shooting.’

In all more than 20 bullets rip into the house, one of the bullets hits Kilona Gettys. The 18 year old screams out in pain as the SUV speeds away. She is later taken to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment of her gunshot wounds and a few days later released.

Marquis Owens and another man Kenneth Witherspoon who was also inside the home are not injured.

Photos of the crime scene here and WSOC TV's coverage of the attack is here.

A year later Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe is standing with other CMPD Command Staff touting the department's most recent reduction in crime.

"The numbers are going down because these officers are working in the neighborhoods," Monroe tells the gathered media, "Look at the homicide numbers, They're coming down. I can't fudge that."

During his remarks, Monroe cited help from community organizations in helping cut the crime rate.

Monroe also defended his department's compilation of crime statistics, saying he's "willing to listen" to anyone who can prove the numbers are not accurate. Monroe said police follow the criminal code, adding, "The code is clear. We follow that." (Monroe might indeed follow "the criminal code" but in this case he means the UCR Code.)

But the person he should ask was standing only a few feet away, talking on her cell phone.

Major Vicki Foster as head of CMPD Criminal Investigations unit is responsible for the way crimes are reported.

It is at Foster's direction the attempted murder of Kilona Gettys, Marquis Owens and the third man is reported as a single crime, and classified under the UCR as an aggravated assault. Anyone searching for the incident via CMPD's crime mapping system would see only the UCR classification not the real crime report as filed by CMPD officers.

While Chief Monroe is telling reporters that his staff report crimes accurately, the facts tell a different story.

The above police report lists the offense as aggravated assault even though the crime is clearly nothing less than "assault with a deadly weapon" or attempted murder. To see the real report and really what happened you need to know the the secret codes. Cedar Posts has saved you the trouble. The actual report as filed by CMPD Officers is here.

It is the UCR that gives Chief Monroe cover to use the numbers and the rules of reporting to tell the public that crime is down. You'll notice every time he talks he adds emphasis that he's following the code.

Standing next to Vicki Foster is Deputy Chief Kerr Putney who recently stated that the commercial larceny statistics had shown an increase because of break-ins at mini-storage facilities. Putney went on the say that CMPD is required to report one crime per victim or rented space. But apparently that is not the case as City News Watch turned up several reports showing just the opposite.

On Tuesday Chief Monroe reported to Charlotte's Media the following general numbers. These numbers were reprinted by the Charlotte Observer.

Homicides: 55 - down 6.8 percent

Robberies: 1,612 - down 10.2 percent

Rapes: 211 - down 8.7 percent

Aggravated assaults: 2,901 - up 3.8 percent

Residential burglaries: 6,352 - down 13 percent

Commercial burglaries: 2,184 - up 8.1 percent

Vehicle thefts: 2,665 - down 21.2 percent

Larcenies: 21,369 - down 5.9 percent

Arson: 159 - down 19.8 percent

Just one little problem, the Arson number is transposed, it is actually 195 and the Vehicle theft number is from 2010, as the correct number for 2011 is 2101.

The report prepared by Major Foster's office is littered with errors and miscalculations. Check out the headings on page two here.

Yet with these clear errors being shown to the media, typos and transpositions no one bothered to ask how such a dramatic cut in Auto Theft was achieved.

Pretty simple actually if everyone who steals a car is charged with "Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle" the Vehicle theft numbers fall.

Trouble is CMPD officers got carried away with the project to reduce felony auto theft. So where did CMPD hide 564 auto theft crimes? Just look at the increase in Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle"arrests according to one source with the department the number is 24.5 percent higher than 2010.

Cedar's Take: Clearly something is wrong with the way CMPD is reporting crime.

If we are going to rate the Chief's job performance on reduction of crime numbers rather than the effective and cost efficient management of the department why are the numbers being prepared by the chief's office?

Shouldn't there be an audit of these numbers at least on a bi-annual basis?

If I can find errors by just reading over the report, imagine what a real audit would turn up.


Anonymous said...

The tip of the iceburg...........

Anonymous said...

Another homicide last night that makes 6 so far this year how is that working out for you now cmpd?

Anonymous said...

Cedar, I looked at the link to the year end numbers and damn you are right the heading lists three time periods 12, 24, 36 months but the numbers are only for 12 month periods what a bunch of freaking idiots!

I bet they have it fixed as soon as they read your blog this AM good snoping!

Anonymous said...

Cedar, You and Citynewswatch are doing great Blogs!

Don't stop digging and demanding the information on crime numbers....this is so important and crystalizes the corruption at cmpd from the top.

The manipulations and reclassifying are real, happening every day.

Keep pushing for info on SHOP, that they have been able to hide this "program" and get away with using it to hide and NOT REPORT is really criminal.

Have they admitted yet that the body in the car was indeed a homicide and not just merely "suspicious"?

Are they hoping people will forget and they can just ignore it?

That would be 6 homicides so far this year.

Anonymous said...

is there a reason that the observers 2012 interactive homicide map only reflects 3 thus far?

Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

First off, aggravated assault is a UCR classification, which is generic and lumps in all aggravated assaults. NIBRS classification goes into greater depth/detail than UCR. The crime listed on the links is the UCR classification.

The assault offense in the actual report should read Shooting into Occupied Dwelling and Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Both of which are aggravated assaults. However, only the UCR classification will show up. Look at the "report" for the burglary. Burglary is a UCR classification and not a specific offense listed as Felony Breaking and Entering.

To say that because the UCR classification says aggravated assault instead of the specific crime offense is a way CMPD is manipulating crime reports is incorrect, flawed and misleading.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:34 the Handbook.

Anonymous said...

12:34 and 12:39

Are the screen shots from the police reports or some UCR system?

I'm thinking given the options to report the crime under the UCR, they only option is aggravated assault, but having said that why would the police report make that jump?.

The other point I'd like to make is that we as the public need to know the truth about the UCR methods and be aware that while it is a nice bench mark is says little about crime in Charlotte.

The numbers are meaningless, even more so when we are talking percentages.

The trouble is the public can't pry the information out of Chief Monroe's office so we are left to parcel together what few hard facts we can find.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the crime mapping system, but I don't know as I haven't looked it up.

CMPD's system lists both the UCR and NIBRS classification, as well as the specific crime. And 12:39 is right, it is the NIBRS classification that is listed, not the UCR as the UCR appears to be the more generic. UCR would list it as "assault" while NIBRS would list it as "aggravated assault" and the specific crime would be the actual charges that would be listed. The crime is still a Part 1 offense, no matter how it is listed. There is no way an officer is going to make a report where someone is shot and put an offense that makes it anything other than a shooting. It would damage the case when it is brought up for trial.

Regardless, the crime listed on that link is not the specific crime, but the more generic NIBRS offense.

That is a good link explaining NIBRS and the difference with UCR.

Anonymous said...

Understand, really nothing is as it seems at cmpd.

Because nothing is public info.....I repeat, none of the real crime info is public. There is not and hasn't been a Significant Event Log, nor a Calls for Service. Monroe did away with them.
Why would you do away with them?
No reason other than the obvious, he does not want real time info out there to be able to compare with the bogus crap he puts out at his dog and pony shows claiming he has "lowered crime".
There is no oversight, no audits, literally no checks and balances on what is going on at cmpd.
People know, and many are actually helping with the scam.
And the people that have tried to do something have been exiled, ridiculed and lied about.
Until these things are reinstated and made PUBLIC again, you can believe nothing that comes out of cmpd about crime stats.
The ones that know and have done nothing or said nothing are as bad as Rodney and his cohorts.
What is going on needs to be stopped, rodney needs to be stopped. Who is going to step up and demand answers, open books, who is going to call his bluff and really investigate this travesty?

Cedar Posts said...

12:34 is correct.

The crime mapping system shows only the highest UCR crime, which in the case of a drive by shooting is "aggravated assault" yes that is the highest classification allowed for this sort of crime.

Anonymous said...

I think we should have a real audit, it should be conducted by an outside agency and it should look at how the departments reports crime, handles employee data, and spends our tax dollars.

It should be SOP for any operation the size of CMPD. I would be in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Cedar, it is hard to say what Monroe is doing, but one thing is for sure the report is flawed and you are correct it has a bunch of typos.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous January 20, 2012 3:05 PM

How about this for an idea? Bring in the actual law enforcement agency to conduct the audit (FBI). It shouldn't cost any extra money and since it is a government agency. We should be able to receive the truth concerning the crime rate in Charlotte. Since, they are held to a higher standard in the law enforcement community. Also, since that doesn't happen with CMPD being held to a higher standard due to the profession.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37

I am sure you are right in cases of shootings. However; cases of other aggravated assaults can and have been downgraded to simple assault, which makes them non violent and not even included.

An easy way to check these is to pull all reports in a high crime area [where the local hospital is not a trauma center] for say the past 3 mos.

Get EMS reports for same time period to see if the hospital the victim was taken to is the same as what the report states, or were they diverted to a trauma center. If they were diverted, you probably have an agg. assault.

Just because the report states that they went to the closest hospital does not mean that is where they really went. Those are the ones that should be looked into further. No need for trauma unit if it is a simple assault.

Anonymous said...


Do you have a directive, or some other rule indicating how officers are supposed to determine the difference between aggravated and simple assaults?

Anonymous said...

Cedar, By my count, with the latest in University City,
That makes SEVEN homicides so far this year, SEVEN.

Anonymous said...

So, their new thing is to call a homicide a "suspicious death" and hope it falls off the radar and they never have to label it a "homicide"??!!!

What would qualify as a suspicious death vs. a homocide?

Two bulletholes vs. one, what????

I mean, come on Media. call them on this, please!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:53, typically if an object is used to assault someone it is aggravated. If there is an injury of more than cuts, scrapes and minor bruising, then it is aggravated. It would be considered a simple assault if there is no injury or such a minor injury that either no medical treatment is needed or minimal (such as a bandaid).

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:32; REALLY!!??