LUBBOCK, TX - The FBI recently released their Uniform Crime Reporting data for 2016, showing violent crimes have increased for the second straight year in the U.S.
The data gathered from local law enforcement agencies showed how many violent and property crimes were committed in 2016. They classified violent crimes in categories like murder, aggravated assault, robbery and rape.
An FBI representative in the Dallas field office said the data is presented raw and is best utilized when experts analyze it and place it in context.
“These are just the raw numbers that we have gotten from these agencies," Lauren Hagee said.
In total for the year, Lubbock had 2,741 violent crimes, with of them classified as aggravated assaults, up from last year’s 2,391 violent crimes. Lubbock had a violent crime rate per 100,000 residents of 1,083, the tenth highest rate among Texas cities. It was the largest city of those ten cities with the highest violent crime rates.
CLICK HERE to take a look at that FBI data.
Lubbock’s Chief of Police reiterated the need for context when looking at these numbers.
“While we recognize that in a growing city like Lubbock, Texas, you are going to see crime rates that go up, our goal is to make sure they don't go up at nearly the rate that our population goes up,” Chief Greg Stevens said.
Stevens said there are many factors that contribute to a city’s crime rate, like the presence of a major university, major highways, and the types of industry in the area.
“So we Americans want to know, ‘So where is my city in that list, and where do I sit,’” Chief Stevens said. “Factor in all that, and it is just so hard to compare city to city. Nonetheless we are conscious of it. When you see your city at the top of the list, it really can create your anxiety. Unfortunately, if you see your city at the bottom of the list it can create a false sense of security.”
He said his force likes to focus on the crimes that directly affect the citizens of Lubbock, instead of looking at comparisons.
“We are the hub of this entire region. There is no bigger city for five hours in any direction, so we have all the industrial areas, all the residential areas, low income areas, high income areas, we have everything all right here, so we have all those types of crime. So that will impact us differently,” Chief Stevens said.
LPD said they lack confidence in this UCR System depicting an accurate picture for the Hub City.
“UCR numbers can be very misleading because what constitutes aggravated assault is really confusing and most people couldn't define that for you,” Chief Stevens said.
He said that varying definitions and laws from state to state add to the confusion. He also expressed frustration at how late the data is released, adding they published their numbers in February in order to began combating those crimes. LPD added nearly 4 new squads, most of which work to eliminate property crime in response to their data.
“It takes all the way until September or October every year to publish, and that is just way too late, because by then the numbers that you have are outdated numbers, this report that you have is old information,” Stevens said, adding that he doesn’t criticize the FBI. “We just have very little confidence in that system, and quite honestly I would speculate that the FBI does as well.”
LPD said they are switching to a new system of reporting called NIBRS, or the National Incident Based Reporting System. They believe the FBI will be switching over at some point too. They said they hope the new system will better detect the intricacies of crime rates in very different cities to more accurately depict the state of crime in our country.
Lauren Hagee said another important factor is the public reporting crimes to the authorities so they can be tracked.
“The FBI is working around the clock to combat violent crime, but we don't have eyes everywhere so we do rely on the community to help us out. So we ask the public if they see something to say something to us.”
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