by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)
- When using stats tell your audience "reported" crime has increased or decreased.
- Question explanations given for changes in crime rates. There may be more than one the reason you are given may be spin.
- Put crime figures in a proper historical perspective. Don't just look year to year, but at longer trends.
- Don't overwhelm your audience with stats. Too many can be boring and/or confusing.
- Humanize. Details draw readers into a story. Use a compelling personal story to highlight an issue.
- Examine local demographic and economic factors. Local factors like an increase in unemployment or the average age of residents can be a factor in crime. Check to see if a link may exist.
IRE's website, http://www.ire.org/, is also an excellent resource.