By Jonathan Bacon
While police in Provo saw a decreased crime rate overall in 2003, other large Utah cities saw increases in their crime rates, according to the recent FBI preliminary statistics released this week.
Provo Police Captain Michael Mock of the patrol division, said because of the way the statistics are collected, some of the numbers included in the FBI”s reports were inaccurate and in some cases way off.
“The FBI uses UCR or Uniform Crime Reporting, we use IBR, or Instant Base Reporting,” Mock said. “IBR is based on every incident so you are able to break it down to show greater detail.”
Salt Lake City and West Valley City saw the largest jumps in total violent crime according to the UCR, a division of the FBI.
Maryvictoria Pyne, chief of communications for a division of the FBI, said the difference between the two methods of measuring the crime rates and statistics are very different and can cause differences in the way the statistics are reported.
“Under UCR, burglary is burglary,” Mock said. “Under IBR, its either a burglary from the lawn, from car, from a shed. It breaks it down so you get a better feel for what is really happening in your community.”
Discrepancies from the FBI findings show instead of the 63 percent increase in burglaries, Provo Police have actually seen a decrease in every area burglary is measured, except for local businesses where the number of break-ins increased from 237 in 2002 to 290 in 2003.
Brad Baird, public information officer for the Salt Lake Police Department said differences in the reporting is a problem for them as well.
“Right off the bat, according to the UCR we had 15 murders last year,” said Baird. “We had 17. That is a significant difference in percentage points when the numbers are that low.”
However, both police agencies agreed some areas of the UCR report were accurate.
According to the UCR, both Provo and Salt Lake City showed a decrease in “forcible rape,” something Baird said can be attributed to more education.
“Educationally we”ve been able to tell women that it is okay to go out and go to clubs,” Baird said. “But when you go out, go with groups, have your friends look out for you and in general, be safe.”
Mock said for Provo much of the reduction in crime is attributed to proactive policing.
“Over the last almost three years, we have put a huge emphasis on being proactive,” he said. “We are accomplishing a lot of that through traffic enforcement. That means we”re out there, we”re being visible, we”re making citizen contacts. We”re not just waiting to respond on stuff, we”re digging and looking and we”re out and about looking for stuff.”