St Louis Police haven’t published new crime data in six months, a problem they say stems from a new tracking software the department recently switched to.
The Department made the software switch to comply with new reporting requirement handed down from the FBI.
Previously, St Louis had published crime data monthly. The delay is making it difficult to analyze short term crime trends.
From the St Louis Post-Dispatch:
St. Louis police, along with other agencies across the country, made the switch to NIBRS to comply with a landmark change this year in national FBI reporting requirements, designed to capture more complete data on crime in the U.S.
The city has been preparing for the switch to NIBRS since at least 2017, but is still developing a way to resume its practice of publishing monthly incident data, neighborhood offense totals and other information so that the public, including academics, nonprofits and the media, can track crime across the city.
The lack of updates since December on the department’s public crime statistics webpages come at a time when crime is at the center of St. Louis politics and public policy after the city last year saw its highest homicide rate in at least 50 years.
Christopher Prener, a sociologist at St. Louis University, is among the academics who regularly relied on the data for lesson plans, research projects and consultant work providing crime analysis.
”In St. Louis and St. Louis County we’ve had better data transparency than any other jurisdiction in the region in the past,” Prener said. “But I think it’s an important part of open government to make sure that that transparency continues. It’s about making sure that the public knows about more than just what the crime reporters are able to get to or what comes on the scanner to show the larger trends, it’s especially important in a city like St. Louis where crime is as high as it is.”