Here's another story where the numbers don't quite justify the reaction. Most major crimes in Fort Wayne dropped last year, including murder, and the police chief speculates on police initiatives that may have contributed to the good news. The murder rate does sound astounding -- a 40 percent drop from the previous year. But that's 19 murders instead of 31 in a city of 250,000.That means 12 fewer people killed someone in the heat of anger or decided to pick up a gun and take it on a robbery. That's not something that comes from any change in policing. The overall drop in major crimes of 2. 5 percent -- from 9,907 to 9,656 -- is even more meaningless.
That doesn't mean the police initiatives are without value. Reducing the amount of time it takes to serve domestic-battery warrants and putting more patrols into shots-fired areas can increase both public safety and the perception of it. But trying to make the numbers say what they don't really say is shortsighted. If nothing else, it will require police to come up with elaborate explanations they don't really have when there are small spikes up in the numbers.