Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mayor, You Lied

Third Article in a Series Demolishing Boss Godfrey's Bogus Crime-fighter Theme

By Monotreme

Thanks to a tip from reporter Lee Davidson at the Deseret News, I’ve finally managed to find a reliable source for crime statistics for Ogden City from the year 2006.

As you might recall, this datapoint was important in order to critically examine Mayor Godfrey’s repeated claim, in both his campaign literature and in his taxpayer-funded advertisement in the Thursday, August 30, 2007 Standard-Examiner, that

“Crime has dropped more than 23% since Matthew Godfrey became Mayor, including a drop in violent crimes of 43% compared with an increase of 21% during the 7 years before he took office.” [http://www.votematthew.com/about.html]

“[V]iolent crimes recorded in 1999 were 6.7 compared to 3.8 reported last year — in other words, violent crime in Ogden is down by 43 percent.” [Advertising supplement, Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, Weber Plus section, p. 9D]

These statements are not misinterpretations. They are both, in fact, blatant lies. Mayor Matthew Godfrey is a liar.

I am not making an unsupported allegation. Rather, I’m basing my statement on the facts. Here are the sources of my information:

1) An undated report signed by Chief Greiner, apparently from 2004, available as an Acrobat version of a Powerpoint presentation on the Ogden City website. Click on the “12-Year Crime Report” link. (Greiner 2004).

2) The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, published annually with data breakdowns for all cities, states and regions (FBI UCR).

3) Mayor Godfrey’s personal advertising space, under the guise of an Ogden City communication with its citizens, published in the Thursday, August 30, 2007 Standard-Examiner (Godfrey 2007).

4) The State of Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Crime in Utah annual report, available online (Utah BCI). Thanks to Lee Davidson of the Deseret News for this link.

Two independent editorial sources have also published articles that directly or indirectly refute Mayor Godfrey’s claims and directly support the claims made in my present article. Mr. Davidson and Pat Reavy of the Deseret News wrote an excellent article, “Prime for Crime?” published in the August 26 2007 Deseret News. I recommend this article for its discussion of the pitfalls of the type of crime analysis we’re engaging in here.

“South Salt Lake, a city with a relatively small population but a big industrial area, suffers the highest per-person crime rates — by far — in many categories.
In the period analyzed, the city had an average annual rate of 86 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

That is three times higher than the state average — and even 17 percent higher than second-place Salt Lake City, and 46 percent higher than third-place Ogden.” [Davidson and Reavy, Deseret News, August 26, 2007]

(If my math is correct, this gives an average of 5.9 violent crimes per thousand in Ogden for the period under analysis, 2002 to 2006. My analysis gives 5.2 violent crimes per thousand. Mayor Godfrey says it’s 4.4 in his recent agitprop. More about this later.)

Over at the Salt Lake Tribune, Kristen Moulton provides the corrected figures for the “precipitous decline” [Matthew Godfrey, Salt Lake Tribune, August 8, 2007] in Ogden’s crime: 12.8 percent in total crime (less than the drop in the state as a whole) and a whopping, precipitous 5.1 percent in violent crime.

Mayor Godfrey must read the papers. (I’ll remain silent on the issue of whether he reads WCF.) He must know that his figures are wrong. Yet, he has not corrected them. Therefore, he’s a liar.

Here is a graph comparing violent crime rates (per 1000 citizens) for the years 1995 to 2006, updated to include the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation figures:


Note that three of the four sources of data are in good general agreement: the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (last year available, 2005); Chief Greiner’s undated report, presumed to be from 2004; and the Utah BCI reports.

The only data source that seems to be completely faulty, to the point of being fabricated from whole cloth, is Mayor Godfrey’s published numbers on which he bases his “precipitous 43% drop” claim.

In fact, the Mayor has artificially inflated his pre-Louis XV baseline (“Avant moi, le déluge”, says our own not-so-Sunny King). He actually reported 2000 and 2001 statistics accurately, and he’s pretty close on 2003 and 2004. He replicates Greiner’s erroneous 2002, artificially low numbers.

But where he really goes to town with the falsehoods is in the 2005 and 2006 statistics. He has dropped both numbers by more than a third in order to substantiate his false claim of a “precipitous 43% drop” in violent crime.

The 2005 violent crime rate per thousand people is 3.2 according to Matthew Godfrey and 4.9 according to the State of Utah. The 2006 violent crime rate per thousand people is 3.8 according to Mayor Godfrey and 6.0 according to the State of Utah. Who’re you gonna believe?

In fact, according to last year’s State of Utah BCI statistics, violent crime rates in the last year of Godfrey’s reign (6.0 per thousand) are above those of his first year in office (5.7 per thousand). Using his own faulty math skills (especially unforgiveable in a Master of Accounting) and hyperbolic phrasing, violent crime has suffered a precipitous increase during Mayor Godfrey’s administration.

The lies he tells about total crime are small only in comparison to the Big Lie (“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…”, Orwell G, 1984).


Once again, the pre-Godfrey 1999 number is mysteriously inflated, and the 2006 number is artificially deflated. This makes the drop seem more “precipitous” than it actually is, and as has been noted earlier by Kristen Moulton and by me, the drop is still smaller than for the state of Utah as a whole over the same time period.

In fact, once again borrowing his phrasing, total crime is up precipitously from the first year of Mayor Godfrey’s administration to the last.

For those of you who have made it this far, some methodological notes. First, while reviewing my previous articles for accuracy, I was troubled by a discrepancy between sources in the 2000 data. I found a faulty population statistic in the FBI Uniform Crime Report data for 2000; they had used a previous census estimate rather than the official 2000 census figure for that year. As you can see in these graphs, when I corrected the denominator, all four data sources were in perfect agreement.

A second methodological note: the 2006 Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation data are clearly marked as “preliminary”. However, it’s hard for me to imagine that the number of crimes reported in Ogden in 2006 will be revised downward from 474 crimes (two homicides, 42 forcible rapes, 132 robberies, and 298 aggravated assaults) to 301, which would be the number required to achieve Mayor Godfrey’s stated rate of 3.8 per thousand. (A total of 301 violent crimes divided by 79 thousand people gives 3.8 per thousand. A total of 474 violent crimes divided by 79 thousand people gives 6.0 per thousand.)

Third, I’ve had to estimate Ogden’s population for 2006. The US Census bureau estimates only run to July 2005: they have a population of 78,309. From 2000 to 2003, the population of Ogden rose by 1.4%. I applied the same rate of growth to 2003 to 2006 to get an estimated population of 79,389, even though Ogden’s estimated population peaked at 78,510 in 2002, according to the Census Bureau.

Using the larger population is favorable to Mayor Godfrey, and I’m a fair, albeit spiny, echidna.

Using the higher population estimate produces a violent crime rate of 5.97 per thousand citizens, as opposed to 6.05 per thousand with the official 2005 population estimate. Again, note that Ogden’s population would have to increase to 124,736 — catapulting Ogden’s population, currently seventh in the state, well above West Valley City and Provo, and making it second in size only to Salt Lake City in Utah — in order to get 474 violent crimes divided by 125 thousand population, or 3.8 violent crimes per thousand as Mayor Godfrey claims. Readers should also note that Provo's rate of violent crime is 1.4 per thousand for a city slightly larger than Ogden. (Source: Davidson and Reavy, DesNews article previously cited.) If Ogden could match Provo's violent crime rate, that would indeed be a "precipitous" drop in violent crime.

Or, as Occam’s Razor tells us, the simplest explanation is the most likely: Mayor Godfrey is a liar.

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37 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Note: this morning's SE reports eleven... eleven... gunshot incidents in Ogden over the past weekend.

Eleven.

Curmudgeon said...

Here is the link to the SE story this morning on the eleven gunshot incidents in the city over the weekend: Text here

Waterboy said...

Funny that the incident involving the Nissan Altima where Officers pinned the vehicle in did not mention that the suspects backed into the police vehicle. Thus making the incident aggravated assault on a police officer. Wonder if that will make it to the UCR Statistics? Or will it get left off to make the numbers "look better" for the mayor. The shooting would be a separate crime from the assault on a police officer. Hope they don't try to make it into one crime incident.

gondola boy said...

Waterboy

From my lofty position gliding silently 40 feet over the scene in my magic Gondola I did not see the aledged "backing into" of the police car. Therefore it did not happen and therefore it will not be reflected in any police reports. You wouldn't want me to dummy up data about things I did not see, would you?

just the facts, mamm said...

Hey I saw it said the blind man, and I heard it all said the deaf man, but I will bury it said the little mayor, because I can.

frank said...

Mono

Great piece of work!

I had to take lunch half way through it tho. Where can I get the "readers digest", or the "for dummies" versions?

Keisha said...

I see Mayor Godfrey still has his bogus crime figures up on his website.

What's it been, a week now since his lies were first exposed?

Googleboy said...

The lies he tells about total crime are small only in comparison to the Big Lie (“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…”, Orwell G, 1984).

You only know. said...

You only know what gets reported. There is on average, 3 to 4 "shots fired" calls a night, so 11 is right on par with the average. With so many gang members with guns in Ogden that it is only a matter of time until one of the stray bullets finds its mark again.

The question that the SE and all of you need to ask is, “Do you feel safe?” It does not matter what numbers are reported, true or not, if you don’t feel safe.

D-day is September 11th.

make things happen said...

Did anyone notice the Godfrey forum on Thursday about the property tax issue. it is a 6:00 pm and is at horrace mann school.
I think it would be nice to fill this with people and have him face the truth of the lies that he has been spreading.

Curmudgeon said...

Make:

Except the local people there are very likely to be there wanting to hear about/talk about property taxes, not other issues like the Mayor's bogus crime figures. Trying to turn the meeting into a broad review of the Godfrey term rather than a tax-focused meeting might backfire.

Just something to think about...

dan s. said...

Some folks may also wish to attend the City Council work session this Thursday at 5:00, where they'll be discussing the Mt. Ogden Community Plan. I've heard rumors that some council members are attempting to weaken some of the provisions in the earlier drafts that would have protected the neighborhood from unwanted changes.

david s. said...

The blogmeister's mom informs me that her campaign signs that I placed for her have been stolen. I will be replacing them.

Dan, tell me, why should I go to the work session since I don't get to speak or do anything at all?

Curmudgeon said...

David S:

The SE often does not report what happens at Council work sessions, so the way to know what is going on, to learn about attempts to weaken this pending ordinance, or alter that one, is to sit in on the work sessions. The publics being there operates as a kind of early warning system. Besides, I think having a few citizens there watching, listening... and remembering... is therapeutic for the Council members. Particularly those who intend to run for public office again.

Besides, you can then contact your member or one of the at-large ones, and open with "I was at the work session where you said...." It does get their attention sometimes.

dan s. said...

David,

Curmudgeon has given excellent reasons. In general, by the time they officially ask for public comments at a regular meeting, the process is usually so far along that your comments may have no influence. The council members usually discuss things much more freely at work sessions than at regular meetings, so you'll learn more about where they're coming from. After you listen to what the individual council members say during the session, you can be very effective by contacting them immediately afterwards and responding to their individual remarks--either to reinforce their good ideas or to correct them when they're wrong. Also, when more citizens are watching, all of them will work harder to do a good job.

The presence of citizen observers may or may not keep the administrative staff more honest. At the very least, you can make note of any incorrect or misleading statements, and contact the council members about it afterwards. I did that after the first work session on the Mt. Ogden Plan, when Montgomery made an incorrect statement about who had been invited to the early public meetings.

monotreme said...

Frank:

Short version of the above.

The mayor lied about crime statistics.

monotreme said...

At least one of my friends in the journalism biz has asked me this question: "Why do we care about the Mayor lying? Politicians lie all the time?"

As I have thought about the answer to that question, I guess it has to do with my feeling that not all lies are equal.

There's the social lie: "Of course I love all you kids equally." "Mom, we can't come to the Quilting Festival this weekend because Johnny is sick. You know we'd love to, because we find Quilting Festivals very exciting."

There's the self-defense lie: "I did not sleep with that woman -- Monica Lewinsky." "I am not gay."

But what Mayor Godfrey has done, on more than one occasion, is what I call the Aggravated Lie or Depraved Indifference to the Truth. It's a lie made when there is no reason to lie. There's nothing to be gained by lying.

That's the category that these lies fall into. There's no reason to make this stuff up.

If this was the only occasion where citizens had caught the Mayor lying, I'd give him a pass. But it has happened over and over again.

Come the weekend, I'd suggest we start a thread collecting all the Aggravated Lies and examples of Depraved Indifference to the Truth that have occured in this administration over the last seven years.

I think we'll find the exercise quite useful as we slide into Tuesday's primary.

lance said...

Mono well done, a lie is a lie is a lie, I hate the untruthfulness in politics, and I hate covering one lie with another.

dan s. said...

Mono,

You lost me when you said the mayor has nothing to gain by lying.

Fact is, violent crime has been in the news a lot lately and the mayor is worried that this will hurt him in the election. He has everything to gain if he can convince people that he has actually caused violent crime to decrease significantly during the last 8 years.

Usually I think his motivations for misleading people are pretty clear. For example, he seems to have several members of the City Council convinced that before we move forward on the streetcar between downtown and the WSU area, we should do a study of potential transit improvements on totally different routes--because nobody has ever done such a study. In fact, the Wasatch Front Regional Council does such a study routinely--every four years--and just completed the most recent such study a few months ago. In this case the mayor's motivation is to delay progress on the streetcar and ultimately to kill the streetcar, because the streetcar would make the urban gondola superfluous. And for him, everything revolves around the gondola.

ozboy said...

Matt Godfrey would lie
even if the truth were better,
an indication of the sociopathic personality.

His messianic complex is another
strong marker of this disorder.

He has a number of other symptoms, not the least of which is his apparent contempt for the citizens and his arrogance when dealing with them.

monotreme said...

Dan:

I see your point, but I guess what I'm saying is that there are many other ways to convince people you're "tough on crime" or whatever the Mayoral equivalent is.

I'm sure the Mayor has many initiatives (the recent gang ordinance being one) that he could point to, without having to resort to making up numbers.

He could have said that there is a 12% reduction in total crime, and he wouldn't have had to make it up. Then, we wouldn't have much to criticize him for, because it's a judgement call whether 12% is significant and whether there is a causal relationship.

But by making up numbers out of whole cloth, he exposes himself much more greatly.

I suppose he never thought anyone would actually check his numbers.

And, relative to the gondola, I've never seen a response to the letters that called into question John Patterson's version of events that came out of your GRAMA request.

Those were another set of lies (e.g. tripling the Baker Report's projected ridership) that didn't need to be created.

I think we agree on this much: I suspect that in Mayor Godfrey's mind, he does need to lie to keep the focus on the "big picture", the "greater good".

I happen to believe that the greater good (what I insist on calling the commonweal) is found by exposing ideas to verifiable truth and the democratic process. I suspect that I part ways with the Mayor philosophically on that basic point.

monotreme said...

Oh, and by the way. This statement from the Mayor's re-election web page:

including a drop in violent crimes of 43% compared with an increase of 21% during the 7 years before he took office

That's a lie, too. The previously-cited Greiner report has numbers going back to 1992.

Violent crimes per 1000 citizens:

1992 5.5
1993 5.9
1994 5.6
1995 6.0
1996 5.3
1997 5.3
1998 5.8
1999 5.6
2000 5.7
2001 4.6
2002 4.8

Where's the seven-year-long, 21% rise in violent crime in these numbers?

At this point, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find one statement on that web page that is supported by independent evidence. I'm not even sure he's married with five kids anymore.

Curmudgeon said...

Mono:

You wrote: At least one of my friends in the journalism biz has asked me this question: "Why do we care about the Mayor lying? Politicians lie all the time?"

Used to be a certain class of reporters... originally called "muckrakers" --- I think Teddy Roosevelt dubbed them that --- who made careers out of exposing lies by men in public office and exposing that which they did not want exposed. Hard for me to understand how a journalist could ask "why should we care about a mayor lying?"

BTW, Mono, thanks for digging up the numbers and checking the Mayor's facts [politely so called]. Ranting and raving against him may make the ranters and ravers fell good, but what has real impact, or at least the potential for it, is nailing him on the facts. Like the emails Dan S. turned up and the accurate crime statistics you dug out. Thanks again.

wccf said...

I just heard that someone car had been egged 5 times in the last month and no police report does that mean it did not happen?

CHOP SHOP said...

POOR MAN WANNA BE RICH RICH MAN WANNA BE KING AND THE KING AINT SATISFIED TILL HE RULES EVERYTHING........... sounds like matty to me.........THE BOSS

more sleaze said...

LATEST FLASH--

People leaving the City Council meeting tonight heard that Bobby Geiger was caught redhanded by Amy Wicks removing one of her campaign signs.

Why can't this guy be locked up?

Or why doesn't Mayor Godfrey make a public statement repudiating such behaviour by one of his campaign staff?

sympathetic said...

Poor Amy - She doesn't have that many campaign signs spread around. She needs every one she has.

sharon said...

Mono....thanx for the masterful reporting!!! Do I know you when I see you? hmmmm?

I've written a letter to the SE..but Porter and I are emailing each other about it. I think he should just print our emails and my explanations to his queries of everything I wrote. They would go over the 250 word limit are more interesting than the letter!

We'll see if it makes it in. Suggested they print these letters on Sunday when their circulation is higher. LOL

Anyway, Mono, Dan, Ozboy and you other erudite types...keep up the good work. I hope y'all wrote letters too?

Tomorrow get your neighbors registered to vote! Give 'em a Hansen sign for their yards.

republican senator larry craig said...

I'm not gay. I have never been gay.

democrat said...

Republican Senator Larry Craig don't let the mens room door hit ya in the ass on the way out.

ha ha ha ha said...

sympathetic:

Don't let the mens room door hit ya in the ass on the way out.

Because in January you'll no longer be a Godfrey cronie.

Curmudgeon said...

There is a very good editorial on the problem with Ogden's water syatem [culinary water, sanitary sewers and storm sewers]... how the problem emerged and what Ogden needs to do about it now. Text here.

The editorial summarizes what happened at the thinly-attended Water Horizons public meeting last week, arranged by the Council, and concludes this way:

Ogden has hired a consultant to investigate implementing the tax hike efficiently. The city wants to hear from residents before the hike is voted on, and presumably passed, early next year. There will be more forums such as last week's.

We urge Ogden residents to be proactive in this debate, to attend the forums and provide their input on this costly but necessary undertaking.

We can't avoid the need or the bill for better infrastructure in Ogden. Get involved to make sure the city does it right.


All true, of course, but the SE might have served its Ogden readers better had it run a proactive version of this editorial forty eight hours before the public meeting at Union Station last week, rather than a week or so after it.

Bill C. said...

Grondal's cartoon was good, I guess spending more than $40 million for the I FLY was much more important than infrastructure, to lying little matty's way of thinking.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill C:

Please tell me that the city did not shell out 40 million for the wind tunnel. That sounds way way over the top to me. Not even Hizzonah, with his known proclivity to run chasing after every glittering bauble some promoter dangles before him "without fear and without research" could have bitten on spending 40 million in public funds for a wind tunnel ride.

Why, according to Hizzonah, you could build a two right angle four and a half mile flatland gondola from downtown to WSU for 40 million.

The Wizard of Oz said...

Ya Bill, for hell's sake man you know damn well we also got a penny arcade and bowling alley thrown in with the deal!

And while I got your attention, why are you always picking on me anyway?

Bill C. said...

Actually that figure will rise, the open ended contract fo the construction has not been completed and they're still building as we speak.
It's truely unfortunate that there will be no total accounting for all money that has gone into this stupid venture. And ya, we did get a penny arcade and bowling alley in the bargain.

hahaha said...

What do you expect from little bald man syndrome?

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