FLORIDA - Lack of Crime Statistics Attributed to Y2K Unreadiness - Y2K Glitches Beginning to Show

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Lack of crime statistics attributed to Y2K unreadiness

By JIM HAUG Staff Writer, March 19, 2000

BUNNELL - While not quite the global breakdown once feared, the glitches of Y2K are beginning to show.

In Bunnell, it is the absence of any crime statistics for 1999.

When the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released crime statistics showing the state's crime rate plummeted by 11 percent last year, comparable numbers were not available for Bunnell.

Basically, the city missed the Feb. 1 deadline for the state's annual crime report because it had not updated its computer software for the Year 2000, city officials said.

City Manager Elly Johnson said the missing software is "nobody's fault," but Bunnell has had three city managers in the past two years and the request for crime statistic software never got approved in the past budgets. Police officials said they have made the request since 1998.

It's an oversight the City Commission will take up at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Johnson estimated the software costs about $3,000. Without it, the city will not be able to keep up with crime statistics for this year, Johnson said.

The number of Bunnell crime reports for 2000 had reached 1,088 by Friday morning, police said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not penalize police departments for not submitting their yearly crime statistics, said Jennifer McCord, an FDLE spokeswoman. Compliance is voluntary, she said.

In reality, the 1999 state report reflected 99.2 percent of the state's population - 17 other police departments besides Bunnell did not submit their crime statistics.

They included the Key West Police Department, Daytona Beach Regional Airport security, the Oak Hill Police Department and the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department.

Like Bunnell, many small towns just do not have computer software to tabulate the numbers, Johnson said.

A semiannual 1999 report for Bunnell was submitted to the FDLE, but was not used in the annual report.

While Bunnell will not face any repercussions from the state, the missing crime statistics could come back to haunt Bunnell since crime statistics are often required for grant applications.

Bunnell City Police H.B. Robinson vowed the 1999 crime statistics will be completed eventually.

"Even if we have to do it by hand," Robinson said. "It's just very time consuming. Hopefully, the city will move on this (software) and catch us up." ) 2000 News-Journal Corp. . news-journalonline.com


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 19, 2000

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