NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The Marshall Project took a dive into the FBI’s 2021 crime statistics and found that 40% of law enforcement agencies across the county neglected to report a single statistic. The New Orleans Police Department was one of them. 

“It’s not like they’re not collecting this information and able to report it but not presenting it to the FBI produces some challenges,” AH Datalytics Co-Founder Jeff Asher said.

According to Asher, with the issues the NOPD faced this year, including fire for long response times and issues retaining officers, the lack of data did not help their goal of transparency.

“December 2019 was the last time they produced crime stats on the website. I think that’s the bigger issue,” Asher said. “I think continuing to stay the course and continuing to produce open data and dashboards and other types of means of communicating the good, bad and the ugly regardless of if it’s good, bad or ugly is the way to go.”

Tuesday morning, Mayor Latoya Cantrell claimed work was being done to create better unity and a better department.

“Whether that is commissioned officers on non-patrol being immediately dispatched with our platoon, on the ground, we’re seeing some real results from that in a really short period of time,” Cantrell said. 

However, that effort might’ve come a little too late. Asher said the NOPD’s lack of openness about their work could lead to bigger consequences.

WGNO asked the New Orleans Police Department about the report:

WGNO: Has the NOPD reported its 2021 crime statistics to the FBI? 

NOPD: “Not yet.” 

WGNO: If not, why have the statistics not yet been reported? 

NOPD: “The FBI retired its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program in 2021 to move to a new offense-based reporting system called the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).  The State of Louisiana is the clearinghouse for all local law enforcement submissions to the federal NIBRS system.

Until recently the State only accepted raw data formatted using a standard that is not compatible with our police reporting software’s database storage method.  While NOPD undertook significant changes to its electronic incident report software to comply with LIBRS and NIBRS reporting requirements, the data could not be successfully converted into the format required by the State’s automated data processing tool.  The State now offers a more modern data reading application using JSON.  We are in the process of converting our raw records to the JSON format to submit our 2021 and 2022 year-to-date incident data to the State.  Once the files are submitted, the State will complete a data validation process to certify our records for inclusion in future submissions to the FBI NIBRS program.

“New Orleans is 1/10 of the state’s population,” Asher said. “There’s a chance that louisiana won’t have statewide estimates and that is certainly problematic because that’s not something you can create elsewhere.”

The FBI statewide statistics are expected to be released Wednesday.

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