Letters to the Editor

Mayor: Crime is down in Coral Gables

I’m pleased to report that the city of Coral Gables shows a clear decline in crime incidents. It has been demonstrated by formal independent audits of the Coral Gables Police Department crime-statistics reporting, conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.

In response to public concerns by residents who have suggested that the police department could have been underreporting burglaries in the city, we requested an independent audit of the police department’s Uniform Crime Report compilation procedures and the validity of the department’s crime-statistic reporting.

On Sept. 22, 2014, a senior member of FDLE’s Uniform Crime Reporting Office and a team of five auditors from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information System Audit Unit arrived to conduct administrative interviews and a week-long audit of offenses reported to date.

As a result of the police department’s work, with the participation and valuable collaboration of residents, a consistent trend of decline in various offense categories were seen as of October 2014, which include:

▪ Residential burglary decline of 61 incidents.

▪ Theft of auto accessories decline of 62 incidents.

▪ Theft from structures decline of 60 incidents.

The audit review of 3,508 offenses discovered a margin of error of only 4.5 percent, but no underreported burglary offenses. Under directives from the city commission and the office of the city manager, the city has already implemented various steps to further improve crime statistics reporting data.

Under the purview of interim Chief of Police Ed Hudak, Jr. and the city administration, new measures include the centralization of statistical data analysis managed by a data-management analyst. This will improve the uniformity in research, management and tracking of the data provided by the department. It will rely solely on software-generated reports to provide consistent data reports. Records-section staff positions will be reclassified to improve employee retention and foster consistency in data generation and review.

The selection of Chief Hudak, the verification of the city’s crime-statistics validity and the improvements in the implementation of generation, collection, management and data review and reporting are major steps in the right direction. However, I share the concerns of the City Commission and residents that any crime is one too many in the City Beautiful, and I affirm our commitment to continuing e improving the quality of life and the safety of our citizens.

One behalf of the City Commission, management and residents of Coral Gables I thank the FDLE and the FBI for their prompt response to our request for an independent and credible audit of crime-reporting statistics.

We will work to further reduce the city’s already declining crime rate. A copy of the entire audit report is available at the city clerk’s office

Jim Cason, mayor,

Coral Gables