EXPLAINER: Why major crime data is no longer in Nixa PD’s annual report

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 6:20 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Nixa’s annual report for 2021 may look a little different this year than residents are used to.

Police Chief Joe Campbell presented the 2021 annual report to the Nixa City Council at the regular city council meeting on Monday. There are a few big takeaways in the report. The first is the overall number of calls officers responded to. There were more than 41 thousand calls for service last year -- the highest of any year on record. The overall number of calls the department receives has increased every year since 2017.

“Every year we seem to be going up and up and up,” says Campbell. “The reason we’re seeing that is because there’s so much growth in our community. Nixa is a very desirable place to live, and so we’re seeing a lot of people move to the area. And with additional population comes additional demand for police services.”

The number of traffic stops officers made was up compared to previous years: 11,749, compared to 8834 in 2020, and 11,471 in 2019. DWI charges doubled what they were in both 2020 and 2019: 190, compared to around 80 the previous two years.

“I’m not saying that there are more drunk drivers per se, I’m just saying we’re doing a better job catching those drunk drivers,” says Campbell. “So you go back and look at that proactive element. Going out and seeking out those types of cases and doing that enforcement effort. We want to make the roads safe. I’m actually pleased to see that.”

But, there are some data that is not included in the annual report. Violent, drug, and major crimes aren’t in there at all. It was the same way in the 2020 annual report. Campbell explains the department stopped reporting those crimes in the annual report because of a new crime reporting standard in the country.

“Our agency is actually following in compliance with a new type of crime reporting, and that is NIBRS” says Campbell.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is run by the FBI. According to the FBI website, “Implemented to improve the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement, NIBRS captures details on each single crime incident—as well as on separate offenses within the same incident—including information on victims, known offenders, relationships between victims and offenders, arrestees, and property involved in crimes.”

Crime data is submitted by individual agencies across the country for the NIBRS database. In Missouri, that data is presented on the Missouri State Highway Patrol website, showmecrime.mo.gov. Campbell explains the data used in NIBRS is reported on a monthly basis -- making it possible for residents to see crime trends at any given time. The data also breaks down the time of day, demographics and other context for crimes.

“This is nice because you can direct anybody from the public to this site and they can see it for themselves,” says Campbell. “I don’t want to say that it’s third party, but they’re able to see it through a third party location.”

The data is broken down by agency, type of crime, and by year. According to the NIBRS data, violent crime in Nixa decreased by 62% in 2021, compared to 2020. There was 10 violent crimes, with one of them being a murder. When it comes to property crimes, there was 14 burglaries (up 100%), 11 vehicle thefts (down 15%), and 25 fraud cases (down 10%).

But, those numbers being available online begs the question: why not include them in the annual report, so they’re all in one place?

“You’ve gotta understand that with the annual report, we try to take a 10 thousand foot approach to things,” says Campbel. “And so that is certainly not a detailed document that shows every single thing that we do at the police department. It’s a very overarching approach to showing you what we do here and then what we’re doing over the course of the year.”

Crime data for Springfield PD, Republic PD, Ozark PD, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Christan County Sheriff’s Office and others can be found on the MSHP website. You can find all of that here: https://showmecrime.mo.gov/CrimeReporting/CrimeReportingTOPS.html

You can find the 2021 Nixa Police Department Annual Report here: https://www.nixa.com/home/showpublisheddocument/16232

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