OPINION: Crime stats may not be reliable or valid


I will not go into the details of the research that I did in 2016 regarding the crime statistics of the Sumter County Sheriff's Office as reported in The Sumter Item on Tuesday, May 7, by Sheriff Anthony Dennis.

As I indicated then and I re-emphasize now, these crime statistics are based on internal numbers which can be manipulated to create a much rosier picture than reality. Internal crime statistics cannot be extrapolated as valid or reliable.

The agency that I retired from, the State Law Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigations releases an annual report on crime in SLED's "Crime in South Carolina Report" and the FBI's "Uniform Crime Report." The data from these reports for 2018 will not be released until July for SLED and October for the FBI.

When relying on internal reports from any department or agency, those reports must be taken with "caution." Finally, it is always self-serving to make crime statistics seem better than they really are. Let's wait until Sumter County Sheriff Office's crime statistics are both reliable and valid.