You have to read beyond the headlines

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If you read the headlines in last week’s Sun, “Seal Beach crime down 15 percent so far In 2018” and read no further than the headline and the crime table, one would have a rosy picture that crime is going down in Seal Beach. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you actually read the article, the author points out, crime has risen since proposition 47 passed in 2014. In fact, crime is tracking 18 percent higher than in 2014. The article goes on to quote the Sun that 2017 (The last full year of crime analysis by the FBI and State Attorney General) was a particularly bad year for Crime in Seal Beach with Part 1 Crime rising to a 21-year high.

Appearing on the same page as the article, “Seal Beach crime down…” were two additional articles. Ironically, one reported that there were 12 thefts from either locked or unlocked cars over the weekend (October 5-7). If one reads the article, it mentions that 3 commercial burglaries also took place at Bowlology, Pure Barre and McGaugh Elementary School. What wasn’t mentioned is that there was a 4th commercial burglary at Yogurtland on October 3rd; not to mention a stolen car and two separate arrests for possession of firearms. The other article, appearing directly under the “Seal Beach crime down … ” article is one headlined, “Break-in reported at McGaugh Elementary.”

Two articles on the same page as, “Seal Beach crime down … ” outlining over 15 crimes and the Sun didn’t report at least four others that may not have been available to the Sun at the time of printing.

Now, as far as the statistics reported in the table as “a slice in time,” none of the aforementioned crimes or many others were included. This wasn’t the author’s fault as he had to cut off at some point for his article. But this illustrates why the FBI and State Attorney General as well as the Seal Beach Department compare statistics on an annual basis. Annual analysis and comparison is more revealing of crime trends, than taking an arbitrary date and coming to a conclusion that crime is down. There may have been a reason that the author picked the arbitrary date of August 31, 2018, but I will leave that up to the reader. The question does scream, “Why Now”?

An individual posted on Nextdoor, referring to the, “Seal Beach crime down…” article, stating that, “Statistics speak truth.” They apparently read the headline and drank some Kool-Aid. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said that there are, “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.” This was an allusion to the fact that anyone can, using spin, easily twist statistics so they appear to support their position. I’m sure everyone has heard about the statistician who drowned in a lake that had an average depth of 3 feet.

There were quite a few posts in opposition to the “Kool-Aid” drinker. The residents of Seal Beach, that don’t have an agenda (for no more police or a minimal increase in police officer’s) get it. There is crime in Seal Beach and it is increasing every day.

Police Chief Joe Miller used some State Funds he had to deploy two bicycle police officers during the summer months, on a one-time basis, in the Old Town area. In a matter of a few months, the officers made 80 arrests and wrote over 130 citations. I wonder if that had anything to do with, “Seal Beach crime down … ?” What would those 80 arrestees have done if they were allowed to roam the streets of Seal Beach? A perfect example of what more police officers in the field can do to reduce crime in all the neighborhoods in Seal Beach.

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