In Wilkinsburg, only a third of murders from 2010 through 2015 appear in state and federal statistics. The borough’s police department didn’t know they had a problem. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)
How hard could it be to figure out if a murder has happened?You might assume that a body doesn’t simply disappear — especially if there’s a funeral, a police investigation, news reports, a court case. But in Allegheny County, the chronic bungling of reporting by some police departments basically erases dozens of murders from state and federal tallies.
Try to find any murder from Wilkinsburg in 2012 or 2015 in the state or national stats. Nothing’s there.
In six years, more than two-thirds of the borough’s cases are missing from those stats, along with handfuls of cases from Stowe, Clairton, McKeesport and North Braddock. The lack of reporting, which is required by state law, means residents concerned about community safety get a flawed view of undeniably violent crime.