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Posts from the ‘Crime’ Category


Crime up 6 percent last year in Lincoln

Funny we didn’t hear anything about this during the mayoral campaign: Crime went up 6 percent last year in Lincoln, and rapes hit a 10-year high.

If mayors can take credit for crime dropping 20 percent in four years, do they also take credit for 6 percent rises in one year? Personally, I don’t think mayors make much of a dent in the crime rate no matter what — unless they’re Rudy Giuliani, that is. But they love to take credit when the crime rate goes down anyway. Not so much when it goes up.

I noticed the police chief didn’t release the crime report until May this year — when in recent years he normally releases it in January. Hmmm….. could politics be at play here?

I know for a fact that all kinds of potentially controversial ordinances and policy changes get put on the back burner until elections are over — it happened before the arena election and it happened in the past municipal election — to avoid making the administration look bad. But does this protocol extend to the police department?

I heard the police report on the city lawnmower accident was done before the election, but its release was delayed until after the election. Not sure why: it was inconclusive but did offer a peek at some of the problems plaguing the street maintenance division. I asked the police chief if that was true, but he hasn’t responded. I’ll let you know if he does.


Beutler: Crime down 21 percent since I took office

During his closing comment at the LIBA mayoral debate Tuesday, Mayor Chris Beutler mentioned that Lincoln’s crime rate has dropped 21 percent since he took office.

That stat surprised me — I just hadn’t heard that before. So I contacted the police chief to get more specifics — was he talking overall crime, violent crime, property crime?

Chief Tom Casady said Beutler was referring to the FBI’s so-called “part one offenses” — the most commonly reported crime data nationwide: murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, auto theft and larceny. Those are the ones I’d be most interested in.

You can see the specific data in the police department’s annual reports, right here.

And the FBI annual report of national crime statistics is available here.

Click here to see Casady’s chart of Crime Statistics.


Libertarians fired up over Lincoln crossbow incident

You may remember some local news coverage of a guy allegedly shooting a crossbow in his yard who got into an altercation with police outside of his mobile home.
After the incident, 32-year-old Gary Grana was arrested for third degree assault on an officer, refusing to comply, resisting arrest and unlawful discharge of a weapon in city limits. (Disregard the headline on the Youtube video; their words, not mine.)
The LA County Libertarian Examiner (whatever that is; it looks to me like of LA allows independent reporters on its site) jumped on the story Dec. 23. They reported on the incident, including a 20-minute video allegedly filmed by the suspect’s wife, which they said began with “footage of her front porch with officers piled on top of her husband.”
The video was going viral — until it was yanked from youtube and replaced by the words “this video has been removed by the user. Sorry about that.” But not before it was discussed on the website and, a high traffic website promoting libertarianism and exposing government corruption, reddit and FreeTalkLive. The video was featured on on the 24th.
One of my readers has asked me to look into this. I’ll put in a request with the police chief, but I don’t know if he’ll respond. Anyway, read all about the coverage here.


Should the media use alleged rape victim’s initials?

I’m perplexed by the way the Lincoln Journal Star is handling the identity of a woman who made new allegations against the man being held in connection with the disappearance of a 19-year-old Bellevue woman at Peru State College.
Joshua Keadle is jailed on charges relating to the disappearance of Tyler Thomas. The day after his arrest, another 18-year-old woman came forward and accused him of repeatedly raping her and threatening to throw her in the Missouri River.
This is a horrible story, but what keeps catching my eye in Journal Star coverage is their decision to refer to the second woman, the 18-year-old, by the initials used in court documents. I don’t know if those are her actual initials, but in my experience covering courts, they usually are.
But whether they are or not, using the initials will only lead to speculation about which Peru State student it is — further victimizing the woman.
Figuring out how to identify accusers of rape and other crimes is always tricky: The media rarely names the accuser; usually only the accused. This often prompts a newsroom debate, depending on the case. Most newsrooms have written policies on the subject — which is appropriate.
The Omaha World-Herald used the initials in an earlier story, but then today did not use them. Hopefully, they re-evaluated.

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