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Read All About it: Crime Surges Again

Six months ago I blogged about how the media reported the crime statistics released by the FBI at that time. All the headlines screamed that a new crime wave was upon us. The facts were that reported violent crime had increased 2.5% and reported property crime fell 1.6%. But that wasn’t very exciting, I guess.

The fact that the most recent FBI release of crime stats was equally unexciting didn’t stop the media from having some fun again over the last two days. Murder rose 1.4%, violent crime overall was up 3.7%, and property crime was down 2.6%. Not great news on the crime front, but nothing panic-worthy.

The headlines summarizing these data:

From the L.A. Times:

“FBI Reports Rise in Violent Crime: Murders, Robberies Grow in the First Half of 2006, More Evidence that a Long Decline is Over”

(Never mind that the article goes on to point out that violent crime in L.A. actually fell — hats off to Police Commissioner Bratton.)

From, a site that covers the New Bedford area:

“A Violent Turn: National Crime Data Mirror ‘Unacceptable’ Local Trend”

To get to the bottom of the unacceptable local trend, just read the first paragraph of the article (boldface added by me):

NEW BEDFORD – Violent crime was up nationally during the first six months of 2006, a trend that has been playing out locally all year long. Murders and robberies continued to rise across the country during the first half of 2006, on pace for an increase in violent crime for a second straight year, preliminary FBI data released yesterday show.
While New Bedford actually has had six murders this year, three fewer than last year, those numbers are deceiving. A violent attack at Puzzles Lounge in February hurt several people seriously but killed no one. The attacker, Jacob Robida, eventually killed his girlfriend and a police officer in Arkansas before turning the gun on himself.

Oops! There is an unacceptable local trend in skyrocketing murder in New Bedford, except for the inconvenient fact that New Bedford actually had only six murders this year, three fewer than last year!