Indiana Election 2011 | Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations

Hamilton, Kruzan Differ on City Crime Stats Interpretation

Bloomington’s police chief and mayor say crime statistics used by mayoral candidate John Hamilton have been misinterpreted.

Bloomington Police Cars

Photo: Emily Loftis

Mayoral candidate John Hamilton quotes FBI numbers he says show Bloomington crime is up 150% since 2004.

Bloomington’s police chief and mayor say crime statistics used by mayoral candidate John Hamilton have been misinterpreted.

During a campaign appearance last week, Democratic mayoral candidate John Hamilton cited numbers from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which he says show the city’s crime rate has increased 150% in the last six years.  But Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff, who conversed with Hamilton about the FBI’s numbers, said the stats are complex and require context to be viewed in the right light.

“I think it would be irresponsible just to throw out statistical numbers saying ‘we’ve got this increase in crime’ and not really look at everything else that goes into that,” Diekhoff said.

Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Mark Kruzan said he knew of the conversation between Hamilton and Dieckhoff, and went to the FBI’s website himself to learn more about the crime numbers.

“If you go to the FBI website and look at the Uniform Crime Reporting part of that site, it specifically tells you not to do what John [Hamilton] has done,” the mayor said.

Diekhoff said a growth in the city’s population and the resulting increase in downtown population density over the last decade play roles in the city’s crime rate, which the chief did acknowledge is up somewhat.  But he’s quick to say he believes Bloomington is a safe city which in 2010 was feeling the effects of the nationwide recession — a marked difference from 2004.