Mismatched Crime Data Yields Unclear Priorities

A disturbing analysis of mismatched and apparently incorrect crime data, as collected and compiled by the federal and state governments, leave Maryland policy makers without a clear sense of  current priorities and policy effectiveness.

An in-depth analysis by Capital News Service, hosted on the MDReporter.com site, shows that Maryland crime data – seemingly an obvious building block for policies and investments in public safety – is rife with inconsistencies and outright errors. From their article:

In fact, many of Maryland’s crime statistics reported by government agencies are unusually inconsistent — even “astounding” and “bizarre” — according to a national crime statistics expert.

Numbers for the same crimes over the same time period in the same jurisdiction are different — sometimes markedly different — depending on which agency is reporting them: The FBI, the state police or the local law enforcement department.

In one county, for example, the FBI reported 13 people murdered; the state police listed 23 and the county, 26.

What happened to the other 10 or 13 people not included in the FBI’s report? No officials fully explained.

In fact, none of the agencies was able to fully explain how the same type of crime appeared to happen more or less often depending solely on which one reported it.


For more detail on the troubling numbers in Maryland crime, visit the Capital News Service article on MDReporter.com.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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