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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

St. Louis scrambles to clean up image

Friday, December 3, 2004

St. Louis city officials with much hoopla earlier this year touted new crime statistics that showed crime was on a major decline there. That was very good news because business and industry look at those numbers when considering locating in a community.

But a funny thing happened on the way when it was later discovered that nearly 6,000 crimes had gone unreported because of a change within the St. Louis Police Department. Crime actually rose 4 per cent last year in St. Louis. And now city officials are scrambling to clean-up their image.

We'll call it in honest mistake. But it is interesting to note that police officials waited from June until November before they alerted other city officials to the mistake. That in itself makes the crime report look suspicious.

Despite the foul-up, not one officer has lost a job nor been subject to disciplinary action. That may come soon however since an oversight committee has now been formed to monitor the crime reports.

The truth of the report came too late to change the city's listing in the national FBI crime statistics report. That's a bit awkward since St. Louis officials will now have to explain the problem. It should be interesting.

But there is some good news. Thusfar in 2004, crime in St. Louis has actually gone down in most categories. That should be greeted as very welcome news.

But given the mistake from last year and the reputation that will follow that mistake, St. Louis officials may be answering questions for years to come.

That's what you get when your words and the truth are in conflict.

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