Tampa Police Department's streak of plummeting crime statistics continues

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said that the TPD achieved a 15.8% crime reduction in 2009, leading to a 56% reduction since 2003, the year Mayor Pam Iorio and former Police Chief Stephen Hogue took power in City Hall.

At a news conference at the department's downtown headquarters on Tuesday, a proud Castor claimed that Tampa was "bucking a trend" in regards to crime nationally being reported, saying, "I don't think there's any other city in the nation that has accomplished what we've accomplished."

The Department reported 2o murders in 2009, tying it with 2005 for the lowest number of homicides in the department in the past 25 years.  It reported  15,557 total crimes in 2009 (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft).  That's over 19,000 less crimes reported going back to 2002.

Castor was asked about how the department categorizes their statistics.  She said going back to 2004, the TPD learned that they were under reporting crimes in some cases, and over reporting in others.  She said that the TPD stringently follows FBI Uniform Crime Reporting guidelines precisely, and those numbers get severely scrutinized before being passed up to the FDLE and ultimately the FBI.