Matthews releases correct crime data after inaccurate report

  • In US
  • 2023-02-03 04:14:22Z
  • By WSOC

The Matthews Police Department released a new report Monday after it inaccurately reported its closure rate by using a category called "closed by other means."

PAST COVERAGE: Matthews PD reported inaccurate crime data, investigation shows

From 2018 to 2022, cases that were closed by other means helped push the police department's clearance rates as high as 75%.

The town says the way police used that classification is inconsistent with department, state, and federal standards.

In 2019, total closures for the Southeast U.S. were 18.3%.

The new report indicates that between 2020 and 2022, police closed between 31% and 37% of cases.

Town Manager Becky Hawke said people within the police department brought the issue to her team's attention.

That prompted the town to launch an internal investigation.

"The primary issue that was discovered was that there were issues with how case closure rates were presented to the public," Hawke said. "And that was really the result of how some of our cases were categorized."

Sarah Eckard said she's had countless sleepless nights since an attack at her retail job in Matthews.


"I had a mask on," Eckard said. "All I saw was spray going directly into my eyes. All over my face. I turned around. He used it to I think push me away."

She is still emotionally scarred one year later. She wants the police to find the people responsible.

"I would ask two times or so in passing, 'Hey, did you catch that guy? What's going on?'" Eckard said. "And they were like, 'No, we haven't caught him yet.' And I didn't think any further than that."

Two cases from 2022 still need further review -- a robbery, and a vehicle theft.

"What investigators found was that there are a few additional leads that they think they can follow up on with the information that they currently have," Hawke said.

Eckard's assault case is one of those.

"To have something like that happen, it felt like there was a blind eye turned," Eckard said.

She can sleep better knowing detectives are back on her case.

"We are human beings," she said. "Every single person on earth. I know they are doing their due diligence how they can, but it is important these things don't fall under the rug."

The town said those responsible for the classification issues have been held accountable or no longer work at the department.

Matthews officials also put other changes in place, including removing the closed by other means option.

The town is looking at software changes to help officers determine the right category for crimes.

VIDEO: Matthews PD inflated how many crime cases were cleared, investigation shows


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