Friday, October 21, 2005

Silly Reporter, Laws Are For Commoners

Crime statistics? You don't need no stinkin' crime statistics. Run along, now. Everything's fine. And, oh yeah...VOTE MENINO.

Shots in the dark: Cops keep quiet

Even as shootings and other violence spike citywide, Boston police are keeping the public in the dark about crime by withholding statistics, silencing commanders and denying access to daily police logs in violation of state law.

What's that? The higher-ups at BPD flagrantly violating state law? Gee...there's something awfully familiar about that bowling ball.

After refusing to provide crime data for days, the department finally released shooting numbers yesterday to the Herald. The figures confirmed unpleasant election-year news for Mayor Thomas M. Menino: shootings are up 23 percent from this time a year ago, and up 85 percent over 2003.

At the neighborhood level, six out of 11 precincts turned away Herald reporters who, presenting themselves as citizens, asked for logs of local police activity. Under state law, detailed accounts of crimes and complaints must be made freely available by police.

Even logs made available proved sketchy or outdated. A citywide journal log provided yesterday at police headquarters, for example, made no mention of Tuesday's shooting of City Council President Michael Flaherty's car.

"It's the same thing over and over again," said Barry Mullen of the Florida Corridor Neighborhood Association in Dorchester. "They will not release stuff."

What say you, Mr. Mayor?

Menino denied election-year politics is behind the overall pattern of BPD secrecy. "There's no attempt by anybody not to give away information," he said.

Ignorance or arrogance? I report, you decide.