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It Depends on the Definition of a Crime

Imagine your purse gets snatched and you fill out a police report for the Miami Police Dept. Well,  you might consider yourself the victim of a crime, but were you really the victim of a crime?

The woman told police she was in Model City when a thief grabbed her pocketbook, which held a set of rental car keys, and ran off.

But then comes the part where the report says this wasn’t a crime at all.

crime.jpgMiami police wrote up the case on Aug. 19 as an ”information” report, a designation typically reserved for noteworthy but noncriminal events. As such, the incident is assigned a case number, but it doesn’t show up in city crime statistics.

The use of such reports may get new scrutiny as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement begins looking into allegations that Miami police have systematically whitewashed crime statistics to make the city appear safer than it is — a review requested by both Miami’s police union and Police Chief John Timoney.

In the case of the Brownsville woman’s purse-snatching, Timoney’s office said the case was deemed to be no crime because Charmane Jackson, the victim, told police conflicting versions of how it happened.

Nonsense, Jackson says. ”Now they want to make me seem like the bad guy,” she said in an interview. “It makes me very angry.”

”It was a crime,” she said. “They took my stuff, my belongings.”

The purse has not been recovered.

Some of the other ”information cases” from the past 18 months reflect the vagaries involved in police work:

• A pregnant woman last week told police that a man brandishing a sharp object robbed her of thousands of dollars in cash and expensive jewelry while she waited at an Allapattah bus stop.

The woman, Vanessa Vazquez, 25, suffered multiple stab wounds during the altercation. The officer who prepared the report wrote that he was classifying it as an information because of inconsistencies and gaps in her story.

Vazquez, who gave police an Allapattah homeless shelter as her home address, could not be reached for comment.

Read story: MH 


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