Audit finds trouble in city Police Department

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta's troubled Police Department for years has failed to confront a serious crime problem and has even downplayed it, a new audit concludes.

Police Chief Richard Pennington said the report, to be released today, describes a department where crime reports have been either intentionally suppressed or lost through sloppy record keeping. The result has been altered crime statistics, he said.

-- Crimes have been consistently under-reported to the public over the years — at least one ranking officer said the Police Department's job was to protect the city's image for tourism.

-- Thousands of fugitives, including murderers, wander streets with little worry that they'll be tracked down. Fugitives usually aren't taken into custody until picked up on a traffic stop or another new crime.

-- Atlanta's crime problem is worse than the FBI crime statistics indicate because 15 other law enforcement agencies — such as universities and MARTA police — take reports but don't report them to the Atlanta Police Department or FBI.

-- A revolving-door justice system in Fulton County Superior Court ensures that many burglars, drug dealers, car thieves and snatch thieves — even if caught — spend little time in jail.

Glad you don't live in Atlanta right about now? Perhaps only if you think this isn't happening in Ohio:

Columbus: Homicide total is skewed by city (limits)
This story also details how the City of Toledo is manipulating their homicide totals.

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