The Jon Mitchell Administration says crime is declining in New Bedford. I hope that is true. The latest FBI crime data shows that the city's crime rate plummeted by 38 percent in the most recent nine-year span of data and that the trend should continue. I am rooting for the city because after all, I grew up here.

But New Bedford Police Union President Hank Turgeon pointed out something during this week's meeting of the city council's Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods that raises questions about those statistics. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for what appears to be a discrepancy in crime figures reported for budgetary purposes and those contained in the FBI's report.

In examining the police department's budget for fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020 Turgeon says the number of crimes reported by Chief Joseph Cordeiro to justify his budget request to the city council is greater than the number of crimes reported in the FBI statistics. By a significant amount.

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Turgeon says it appears Cordeiro inflated the number of crimes to secure more funding, or the number of crimes reported to the FBI was deflated for public relations purposes. Either would be concerning.

Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn has requested an explanation for why the numbers appear different in the budget request than in the FBI statistics. There may be a logical reason for the difference in figures. If there is, the people need to hear what it is.

I suspect there will be more grousing from the administration about Turgeon and efforts to negotiate a contract, but perhaps we'll get a straight answer. Let's hope we do – and the sooner, the better.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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