Interim police chief says previous crime stats were inaccurate


Interim Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks told a committee of the city council Monday that revisions being made to the department’s crime reporting system will “provide depth you’ve not seen before.”

Speaking to the council’s Public Safety Committee, Hubanks, who replaced former Chief Brenda Davis-Jones on Jan. 1 said data collected over the previous several years is inaccurate, with an error rate of up to 24 percent, “and that’s unacceptable. My goal is no more than a 5 percent error rate.”

He said the problem is that when the software was installed, officers requested that the files be locked down to prevent multiple entries, and “that didn’t happen.”

Using 200 E. Eighth Ave., the address of the Civic Center Complex, as an example, Hubanks said there are several ways that address can be written, and each one generates its own numbers.

“We’ve retrained the officers (on writing reports) and now we’re retraining the supervisors so that they will do more than just approve the narrative,” Hubanks said.” They will also be approving the name, address, and other information.”

In previous years, the department crime statistics compared a given month with the same month the previous year; for example January 2013 compared with January, 2012, but Hubanks said that type of comparison didn’t take into account things like population shifts or changes in a neighborhood.

Alderman George Stepps said he would like to look at the numbers and Hubanks said that when the new system is up and running, he will be able to provide Stepps with information on where crimes are occurring in his ward, and the types of crimes.

“We will overlay that with census data and check to see if the identity of the neighborhood changed, for example if a school or community center closed, to see the bad things that happened to that neighborhood,” Hubanks said.

Talking about homicides, Hubanks said he “anticipate(s) we won’t have 18,” referring to the number of homicides reported in the city in 2012.

There have been two homicides in Pine Bluff so far this year and on Monday, police announced that a suspect had been arrested in one of those two.

“We’re just now getting things in place to implement things,” Hubanks said.

In previous interviews, Hubanks said that a majority of the homicides in Pine Bluff are drug-related, and he plans to use vice and narcotic officers more extensively, arresting mid-level and major drug dealers, while paying lesser attention to users or small-ime dealers.

Asked by Alderman Wayne Easterly how he planned to get the word out about the department’s new programs, Hubanks said there were a number of ways to inform the public, including public meetings.

Mayor Debe Hollingsworth suggested Hubanks present his program at the first town hall meeting planned for Feb. 11 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, a suggestion Hubanks agreed to.