Call up the BPD crime database for 2021 today and the first 43 items consist of one row about some lost property on New Sudbury Street followed by 42 more rows that just duplicate the first item.
City Councilor Andrea Campbell (Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale) says an explosion of duplicate entries, coupled with changes in the descriptions of many incidents, are making it difficult for groups that try to chart crime in the city and use the data to plan strategies for dealing with it. The council yesterday approved her request for a hearing to figure out what's going on.
Campbell said that researchers at Citizens for Juvenile Justice began noticing problems a few weeks ago. Shortly after the new year, when BPD split what had been one large database going back to 2015 into several year-based databases, the 2020 file showed roughly 29,000 unique incidents, but a month later it had grown to 91,000 separate incidents.
Also, many of the crime descriptions changed with no explanation, for example, from "harassment" to "criminal harassment/harassment," she said.