Be careful with crime trends

Does a significant increase in the crime rate suggest a bad year for local law enforcement? Not necessarily, says James Fox from Northeastern University.

It’s a good lesson across the board in journalism, as reporters try to draw conclusions from the latest trend. (Insert “Jump to Conclusions” mat joke from Office Space) A 20 percent increase in homicides could mean a bad crime year — but it could also mean a normal one. Maybe last year was just an especially good one. I guess the takeaway is to always get multiple years for the sake of comparison.

Brian Eason
The Clarion-Ledger