DeKalb County got millions of dollars through inflated crime stats, watchdog says

Credit: Lois Norder

Credit: Lois Norder

Atlanta once was stained by a scandal for underreporting crimes. Now, DeKalb County has fallen under scrutiny for vastly overreporting crimes to win millions of dollars in federal grants. It counted 39 too many rapes; 102 too many robberies, 113 too many burglaries, 326 too many larcenies and a staggering 10,624 too many aggravated assaults in 2008, says a new report by a government watchdog agency. How'd that happen? The agency wanted to know, because the county wouldn't have won the grants if it had provided accurate data.

So the agency asked the DeKalb County police department. And the round robin began:

It couldn't explain the differences, had no documentation, and pointed investigators to the former police department grant manager. She said the statistics came from the police department's grants coordinator, who used documentation from a police department file. The coordinator said she didn't know of any such file and pointed to the department's crime analysis unit as the source of the information. The police department researched again and told the agency it had no more documentation.

By the way, the millions in unjustified grant money DeKalb got should have gone to Memphis and Chattanooga, the watchdog agency reports.