Fox Report Yields Inaccurate Picture of Crime in Hyattsville
Overall crime trending down in West Hyattsville, citywide, according to latest annual numbers.
Did news of this weekend's shooting in West Hyattsville make you think twice about living here?
While other news stations were content to keep their coverage of Sunday's drive-by shooting on Hamilton Street to brief items, WTTG Fox 5 dug deep into their bag of metaphors and produced this breathless piece of journalism on the shooting which left two people injured.
The anchor introduces the shooting, which saw 19 shots fired, as something which resembled the "wild west". Reporter Karen Gray Houston went on to say it was like something out of a movie.
A bit hyperbolic? To be sure. One wonders if cinematic metaphors are appropriate to describe attempted murder. Close readers might also note that I have, in the past, referred to West Hyattsville as the wild west, though that was in a political context.
But Houston's report also contained an assertion which is factually incorrect. Toward the end of the segment, Houston introduces a Rommel Sandino, who she said "noted crime in the neighborhood is going up."
Actually, both Wards 4 and Ward 5 have seen overall decreases in the number of crimes reported over the last two years, continuing a multi-year trend being observed citywide, according to the most recent statistics from the city police. The driving factor in that overall crime reduction is a decrease in thefts reported in both wards.
Bucking that trend, however, are assaults (the category under which this weekend's shooting would be classified), which last year rose 10 percent citywide from 94 in 2011 to 104 in 2012. The increase was seen in three of the city's five wards, and was most pronounced in Wards 4 and 5, which saw 15 and 35 percent increases in the number of assaults last year.
There were also much reported increases in residential burglaries which were seen only in Wards 4 and 5 last year, whereas the rest of the city saw a slight decrease in the number of residential burglaries.