Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baltimore City Council Hopes Stats Stand up to Scrutiny

from The League: Reassembled

The Baltimore City Council jumped into the fray over the accuracy of recent Baltimore crime stats last night when it approved a resolution calling for an audit to be conducted by area academics.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley has been taking heat over accusations that his claims of crime reduction rely on misleading statistics. Political opponents including Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, whom the Mayor is facing in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, whom O'Malley hopes to beat in the November general election, have called for an independent audit of the statistics. They hope that an inquiry into the numbers will reveal that crime has not dropped as radicallyunder O'Malley's watch as he frequently argues, which would undercut a major accomplishment he points to on the campaign trail.

The Council, whose members largely support O'Malley's quest for the state's highest office, is joining the Mayor's political opponents in the call for an audit in a calling-your-bluff kind of manuever. The Council is basically saying "Baltimore is improving - the Mayor has nothing to hide so lets get the real numbers out into the open to prove it."

Its good reasoning, but it hinges on the premise that crime actually has reduced at the rate O'Malley claims. There is the very real possibility that, due to changes in statistical calculations between 1999 and now, crime has not fallen that dramatically. True, incidents are down - but if they're not down as much as O'Malley has been touting for the past couple of years, its gonna be a blow to his campaign. Council is taking a gamble on this one.

from The League: Reassembled with revisions


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