Minneapolis police make vague reference to people tampering with public crime reports

Minneapolis police make vague reference to people tampering with public crime reports
Yumi Kimura

Minneapolis police went back and forth this week on whether they would be releasing monthly crime reports in the more data-friendly Excel format.

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In the process, they sent an email to MinnPost, which has been pulling the data from these reports for its neighborhood crime app. It includes a vague reference to people who've tampered with previous reports:

The crime stats are subject to being corruptible in an excel sheet.  They have been changed in the past by persons unknown and this affects the veracity of the original data posted. If stats are posted on-line in a PDF format, this reduces the risk of contamination.

Police have ultimately decided to continue publishing monthly crime reports using Excel.

When asked for clarification Thursday, police sent a statement from Assistant Chief Matt Clark with a similarly vague reference to "a recent concern from our Analysis Unit when posted statistical data appeared to be erased/altered."

Clark said the initial decision to withhold data in the Excel format "was a well-intentioned act by a concerned MPD employee." He vowed:

To address the data issue, we will monitor the site routinely and offer contact information to the public for any data concerns. The MPD values transparency with the public, and we want to provide any department information that can be lawfully shared.

Both the PDF and Excel reports have been posted on the city's website and say the data is "believed Accurate" as of September 6, 2013.

-- Email Jesse Marx at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse

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