Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Doctor Director Straub Caught Sprucing Up Homicide Rate

The inspiration for "Bart" to start the Bart Lies! website was that every year, near the end of the year, it seemed like the homicide rate would get manipulated and would be reported lower by a few homicides lower than the actual homicide rate. Usually, media figures or some politicians would reduce the numbers by taking out any police-action homicides or self-defense figures. In other words, they use the murder rate. Which is fine, as long as they report it as such, and it usually only reduces the number of homicides by 0-5.

I noted last year that Prosecutor Carl Brizzi identified the number as the "homicide" rate and used a number that matches the number found at Bart Lies!.

But Doctor Director Frank Straub, the director of the Department of Public Safety, threw quite a curve ball my way when Bart pointed out that he said there have only been 89 homicides committed in Indianapolis this year. That's right, 89. And yes, he said "homicide", not "violent homicide" or "criminal homicide" or "murder". You can listen to the audio here.

Now, even if you don't accept Bart's count of 106, maybe you'll accept The Indianapolis Star's count of 102.

I'm still scratching my head on how you arrive at that number.

Several months back, The Star published an article where certain public officials were hoping that they'd get another year of less-than-100 criminal homicides. They list the number of non-criminal homicides at 8.

If you take the 102 number, and subtract 8, we're down to 94. Take away the two police action shootings, we're down to 92. Even if you take Eric Wells, who died after an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer ran into his motorcycle with his K-9 police vehicle, off the list, it only brings the number down to 91.

So how did Doctor Director Straub arrive at this number?

I'd sure like to know.

Straub's nomination is up for a vote in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee in the City-County Council on Wednesday at 5:30pm.


  1. On Wednesday there was a homicide at 33rd and Elmhurst. Other than the nightly news there wasn't any information about this shooting.

  2. As "Bart" points out on Bart Lies!, homicide coverage and follow up is a tricky business. Most, we just find out about the event itself. There's no guarantee that a suspect is found, or even if charges are filed.


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