- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

D.C. police Tuesday resumed online publishing of city crime statistics after a nearly three-month blackout caused by glitches in the department’s new data-management system.

While the Metropolitan Police Department’s crime-mapping application, which allows users to search types of crimes by location or date, remains inoperable, the year-to-date crime data offer the first public glimpse at overall crime rates for the city since the department took the tool off its website in mid-September.

The latest statistics show that as of Tuesday, citywide crime is up 4 percent this year over 2011, boosted most significantly by an additional 1,500 thefts recorded this year.

In a statement Monday, the department said the year-to-date statistics would continue to be updated until the crime mapping application can be brought back online.

The statistics distributed Tuesday indicate that violent crime is up by 3 percent this year and property crime is up by 4 percent, with a total of 34,238 crimes reported overall.

The uptick is led by increases in thefts, assaults with a dangerous weapon, sex abuse, and thefts from autos. The frequency of homicides, burglaries, arson, motor vehicle theft all decreased. The number of robberies, which spiked in the early part of the year, held about even, with 4,073 robberies reported so far this year compared to 4,077 last year at this time.

Problems with the implementation of the department’s new data management system, called I/Leads, led the department to take data offline because statistics were not reliable. During the conversion from the old system to the new one, some crimes were incorrectly categorized while others were counted multiple times, skewing the results, officials said.

The data issues even caused D.C. police to suspend dissemination of a key, comprehensive crime report that was circulated internally among high ranking officials.

Circulation of the department’s Morning Crime Report, which details every crime reported the previous day alongside comparative statistics from longer periods of time, was suspended Oct. 23 because of the statistical inaccuracies.

The I/Leads system, which the department began using in December 2011 and which has cost $1.8 million to date, was created by a company called Intergraph and links information that previously had to be accessed through separate systems  such as crime, arrest and investigative reports. I/Leads ran side by side with the department’s old record-management system for nine months, until mid-September, when the old system was retired.

The department’s crime statistics can be accessed at mpdc.dc.gov/statistics.

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