Ft. Wayne Shootings Underreported: FBI Crime Tracking Leads To Discrepancy

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 5:45 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- We've reported homicides are on an alarming pace in Fort Wayne this year.

Turns out, another violent crime statistic in the city is also climbing faster than we want.

We're talking about shootings, and we may not know the full extent of that problem.

We are coming close to a record for shootings here in 2013, and because of the way shootings are tracked, we know they are, to some degree, being underreported.

City police have logged 77 shootings with injury so far this year.

That puts us on track to eclipse, by a small margin, the total of 89 in 2012.

The year with the most on record is 1997, when we had 96.

The underreporting comes in, because the FBI's uniformed crime stats do not log shootings that occur during burglaries or robberies.

They are counted in the burglary and robbery categories.

The bureau doesn't want to count incidents twice.

City police commanders think the FBI is handling it the right way, and that the reporting is not far off.

" It really doesn't necessitate for them to come back and re-classify, so no, it's of no concern to them, they've been collecting this data forever, and we would tend to agree with them, that the numbers are insignificant," said Officer Michael Joyner, a spokesperson for the department.

Joyner and the department's crime stats expert both feel that only a few extra shootings would be added to the overall tally if shootings during burglaries and robberies were included.

The message Joyner was more intent on communicating, something we've heard from Chief Rusty York before, that we need to work harder as a community, as a society, at making sure guns don't get into the hands of those who would use them for criminal purposes.

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