Media Wacky crime stats in PI gang story
posted by December 6 at 16:05 PMon
Today’s P.I. article on rising gang activity in Seattle strikes me as a little under-reported. The story refers to a 25 percent rise in Seattle gun assaults, but the Seattle Police Department says they don’t have that statistic. Their website shows about a 5 percent rise in aggravated assaults as of October of this year compared to the same period last year. And it doesn’t mean police have linked those firearm assaults to gangs — they haven’t. Both the P.I.’s story and a similar recent article in the Times cite an increase in the number of cases referred to the SPD’s gang unit — but police acknowledge that not all of the cases referred to the gang unit are gang related. And just because we might have a few gang bangers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we have the kind of organized groups of occasionally psychopathic thugs who cause serious problems in Los Angeles and Chicago. Where’s the proof? How do we know this isn’t drug related crime? I’m not saying gangs don’t exist in Seattle. But hyping gangs is an easy way to get federal dollars (it’s a Bush priority), and I get the sense some of those federal dollars might be better spent….