Commentary: Argument overlooks full crime data picture

I read Colin McCarthy's commentary "Statistics tell the truth about Costa Mesa crime rate" (March 17) with this question in mind: What does he want us to believe?

Answer: That we shouldn't worry about Costa Mesa's crime rate.

Why would he want us to believe that?

Answer: Maybe because as one of the City Council candidates from 2012, he wants to help his political ally win reelection this November. Voters worried about police and crime in their city aren't very sympathetic toward incumbents.

McCarthy conveniently uses statistics comparing reported crimes from 2012 to 2013, but doesn't compare 2013 to 2014. He doesn't fully disclose or discuss other information that doesn't fit into his crafted model.

For example:

•There were 45 rapes reported in 2013, more than in any one of the years from 2008 and 2012;

•There were 94 robberies reported in 2013, more than in any one of the years from 2010 to 2012.

There are many other crimes that police are never notified of or that aren't fully listed and delineated on places like the city's website. These include identity theft, check fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, human trafficking.

Check out this FBI bulletin on the subject:

McCarthy proudly proclaims, "We didn't have a murder in the first halves of 2012 or 2013."

The city website shows: Five homicides in 2012 and one in 2013.

So in McCarthy's world, if homicides don't happen in the first six months of the year, we must all be a lot safer.

With all the retirements and departures, the number of sworn officers in Costa Mesa is dangerously low. I think McCarthy wants us to believe that a smaller police force somehow correlates with a decrease in crime. He compliments the police chief, the city CEO, his friends on the City Council, community outreach and special software.

Yet there's still no proof that overall crime is down.

Instead of a politician, maybe we should talk to some of the rape and robbery victims. Or the merchants at South Coast Plaza and other businesses in the city that got stuck with bad checks or credit card charge backs.

Good law enforcement includes crime prevention. How can this occur in Costa Mesa when we might not have enough officers to respond to what has already happened?

McCarthy should be commended for his loyalty to his friends and cause. But not when bad information might create a false sense of security in the public.

Is there another agenda here? McCarthy and his ally, the mayor, are major advocates of outsourcing. Do they ultimately want to outsource all police functions in Costa Mesa? What consequences might something like that have for the people who live and work here?

Attorney JOSEPH WEBER works in Costa Mesa and lives in Huntington Beach.

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