Triangle cities' crime calculations don't match with FBI's

Staff WriterJune 5, 2007 

Crime statistics on the state's biggest cities released by the FBI on Monday show some discrepancies with numbers made public by several Triangle law enforcement agencies earlier this year.

According to preliminary numbers released by the FBI, the number of forcible rapes reported in Raleigh was 104 in 2006, an 18.1 percent increase compared with the 88 the FBI listed for the city in 2005.

Raleigh Police Department numbers tell a different story.

According to the department, there were 84 rapes in 2005 and 85 in 2006, an increase of about 1 percent. Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said small discrepancies are normal in preliminary numbers. The rape numbers, he said, were alarming.

"We're working now to ascertain what their number is because that does not correspond to the numbers the department submitted," Sughrue said. "One of the biggest reasons [the FBI] publishes these preliminary numbers is to make sure they are correct and to get them correct before the final numbers are published in the fall."

Sughrue said numbers are collected from different departments and submitted to the State Bureau of Investigations. The FBI gets its numbers from the SBI, Sughrue said. Small discrepancies are usually present because a case status could change between the time each department correlates and distributes what they've collected, he said.

In Durham, officials say reporting practices might account for differences in the numbers. For example, in the case of someone shooting into a room full of people, the Durham Police Department counts each potential victim as a case rather than combining all the victims into one incident.

(Staff writer Jim Wise contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Marlon A. Walker can be reached at 836-4906 or marlon.walker@newsobserver.com.

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