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Flynn: 5,300 violent crimes misreported since 2006
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn spent part of Thursday testifying before the Common Council's Public Safety Committee, explaining how thousands of crimes were misreported.
Chief Flynn has presented the results of an internal investigation of targeted incidents between 2006 and this year that he said had the greatest likelihood of being miscoded.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found roughly 500 violent crimes that were incorrectly classified as less serious incidents since 2009.
Chief Flynn's audit showed that in the past six years, about 4,100 violent crimes were underreported, but more than 1,100 were inadvertently over-reported as a more serious offense.
"The fact of the matter is, over the last four-and-a-half years, this police department has been assertively engaged in a community based, problem-oriented and data-driven strategy," said Flynn.
"There's been no malice in the misclassification of crimes."
Chief Flynn testified that that strategy has resulted in an overall decrease in Milwaukee's violent crime rate.
"Crimes trends remain favorable, even with the underreporting."
Alderman Jim Bohl blasted the newspaper for its reporting. "They will accuse, they'll accuse, they'll blow everything up, then when the light gets shined that says, ' there's nothing there,' then they quietly walk away like crickets and they don't say anything," said Bohl.
Greg Borowski, the senior editor for projects and investigations at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel responded by saying: "We stand by the reporting we did, and if anything the chief's comments underline its accuracy...We're going to continue examining the crime numbers because we think the public has a right to know what the accurate picture of crime in the city is."