Beginning early in 2018, the Police Department initiated a review of all aggravated assault incidents to identify the cause of a notable increase in the number of aggravated assaults. During this review, the department was unable to immediately determine any unusual contributing factors. After adjustment of review parameters, which included analysis of actual report narratives, it was discovered that a significant number of incidents had been misclassified as aggravated assaults, instead of simple assaults. These misclassifications were a result of data entry coding errors when reports were being electronically filed, and when reviewed for categorization.
Per the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program aggravated assault is defined as follows:
“An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Simple assaults are excluded.”
The aggravated assault classification totals include incidents from 17 different penal code sections where the circumstances of the incident can meet the above criteria.
The Department is in the process of conducting a thorough review of all aggravated assault reports. In the meantime, all reports are now being reviewed on a daily basis, rather than monthly, and additional robust training is being provided to Records Division personnel to avoid any further misclassifications. Additional measures are being implemented in the Department’s Records Managing System to ensure these types of incidents are classified in the correct category.
With this review, we anticipate seeing a decrease in aggravated assaults and an increase in simple assaults in the 2018 year-end crime statistics. We expect our review to be finalized by the end of the month, and the 2018 monthly crime statistics for the aggravated assault category will be updated at that time and will be posted on the department’s website.
To learn more about Part 1, Part II crimes, and other offense definitions.