Yes, the Uniform Crime Report statistics for the past five years in Independence indicate that property and violent crime is declining.

Yes, the Uniform Crime Report statistics for the past five years in Independence indicate that property and violent crime is declining.

However, Police Chief Tom Dailey said, those data alone aren’t enough in determining the Police Department’s need for more officers. Dailey responded Monday night to The Kansas City Star’s March 23 editorial that recommended voters say no to the ballot measure a week from today.

“This issue is of tremendous importance to this community,” Dailey said to City Council members Monday night. “I’m preaching to the choir, I understand that.”

In the past two weeks, Independence has seen three separate shooting incidents that included the firing of 30 rounds into cars and houses, Dailey said.

“We stand by our assertion that more resources are needed to lower crime and disorder and give our citizens the protection and services they deserve,” he said.

The UCR statistics for 2011 also listed the population of Independence as 110,704. However, the 2010 census population count was 116,830.

Here is the difference in several crimes, as reported by UCR:

Robbery: 154 in 2007; 110 in 2011. Aggravated assault: 631 in 2007; 342 in 2011. Burglary: 1,304 in 2007; 1,178 in 2011. Violent crimes (includes murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault): 837 in 2007; 500 in 2011.

But, Dailey said, “Raw data alone cannot be the only factor used to draw conclusions about anything.”

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program – data also made available on the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website – makes that warning clear, Dailey said, in the following statement: “Ranking agencies based solely on UCR data has serious implications. When providing/using agency-oriented statistics, the FBI cautions, and in fact, strongly discourages data users against using rankings to evaluate locals, current status and future needs or the effectiveness of their law enforcement agencies.”

Indicators of rising crime and disorder in Independence also must be taken into consideration, Dailey said, such as an increase in police-involved shootings, drive-by shootings, a dramatic increase in gang activity, one of the highest property crime rates in Jackson County, an increase in Priority I calls and need for better response times.

“The Kansas City Police Department is doing exactly what their citizens want them to do,” said Dailey, a retired employee of KCPD, “and that is apprehend criminals and drive crime out their neighborhoods. There is an invisible line between (Kansas City) East Patrol Division and Independence.”

Intelligence-led policing and community-oriented problem solving have led to successes in lowering some crimes in Independence, Dailey said, but the Police Department is often unable to sustain those successes because of shifting resources toward emerging crime trends.

“Numerous other cities have seen the same indicators and have passed police personnel-specific tax and bond initiatives to increase police protection,” Dailey said.

According to IPD, from 2008 through 2011, the city experienced a 20 percent increase in disorderly house cases and a 38 percent rise in Priority I emergency calls for service.

“Part of this process of public information, I think, really challenged our staff to provide the facts the way they see them and not to pull any punches,” City Manager Robert Heacock said. “Some of that discussion centered on a really sensitive issue. When we talk about other communities and we use the words ‘encroaching crime,’ we don’t mean to be disparaging to any community. We simply need to recognize what’s happening and what the department is facing on a regular basis.”