The year 2011 will no longer go down as Rochester's lowest year for reported criminal acitivity over the past quarter-century. That's because of a recently-discovered glitch in the Rochester Police Department's crime reporting system.
Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department says the error did not affect citizen case files, and no crime records have been lost.
This was an error dealing with almost solely misdemeanor car larcenies. That's when you call the number 311 to report your car has been broken into. The error happened because the police department was switching from paper to computer records.
The year 2011 was the lowest year for crime in the past 25. Now, with the restored data, 2011 is no longer lowest; it's actually now just the fifth-lowest year for reported crime. That's an increase in reported crime of eight percent, which is no small change.
Chief Sheppard says he's disappointed that the error at 311 changed the numbers.
"There has been almost no change to our reported violent crime totals from 2009 to 2012 as a result of this problem. Going forward, this problem will be solved. While I am disappointed that this problem existed, I am pleased that our audit process validates a consistent downward trend," Sheppard said.
The last six years have all been the lowest for crime reports in Rochester, according to RPD data.
The chief also spoke about a parking ticket void review. He says over the past four years, 245 police officers have submitted void requests for parking tickets on officers' personal cars. Of those, just 23 were submitted by officers for their own cars, and two high-ranking officers submitted and approved void requests on their own cars. Those two have been reprimanded, and the department now has a policy in place to ensure this doesn't happen again.