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“It’s starting to get away from us a little bit.” That was the message on Wednesday from San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne as he lobbied for more money for the department. His warnings of doom came backed by statistics showing consistently higher rates of crime in San Diego since 2011.

But Keegan Kyle takes a closer look at those numbers behind the chief’s warning and finds a big flaw.

“While the department’s statistic accurately reflects its crime reports, the figure distorts broader crime trends in San Diego. In its push for more funding, police compared current crime levels against one of the most unusual periods in city history,” Kyle writes.

He goes on to explain that crime is actually down compared to the same months in 2008 and 2009, and is relatively flat compared to the same months in 2010.

Lansdowne was only comparing crime this year to the same period in 2011, which was unusually low. “If you compare violent crime over the past year like criminologists often do, the Police Department’s warning to the City Council evaporates,” notes Kyle.

You can listen to Kyle talking about his reporting today on KPBS’s “The Roundtable” at 12PM on 89.5 FM or at kpbs.org.

In 2007 our Will Carless chronicled a series of misstatements and inaccuracies uttered by Lansdowne in his crime-stat reports to the City Council.

San Diego Explained: Car Sharing

If you’ve ever seen a tiny little blue and white electric car driving around city streets, you’ve witnessed one of the newest ideas in transportation to hit San Diego: Car2Go. The car sharing service allows you to walk up to their cars and drive them away for a per-minute fee, and to end the rental when you reach your destination.

Intrigued? Our Andrew Donohue teamed up with NBC San Diego to give you all the details in this edition of San Diego Explained: How to Share A Car.

Opening Day’s Aftermath

Wednesday was opening day for the Del Mar horse races, and while many reveled in fabulous hats and delighted in their gambling winnings, the event has ended in tragedy for some. Two horses have died as a result of injuries sustained at the opening day events.

“On opening day Wednesday, a 2-year-old maiden named Playful Council fatally broke down in the fifth race,” reports North County Times. “AK Karma, a 3-year-old colt by Officer, fatally broke down at the end of a workout Thursday morning for trainer Jeff Bonde, a track official confirmed.”

News of the deaths came on the same day The New York Times reported that many prominent thoroughbred owners and breeders will immediately stop using race-day medications on their two-year-old horses. They have called for members of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to do the same.

The move away from the drugs comes days after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation heard blistering testimony from prominent racing industry members calling for horse trainers to be permanently banned from the sport if found to be using specific performance-enhancing drugs.

All of this comes on the heels of The Times’ March investigation of the industry, titled “Breakdown: Death and Disarray at America’s Racetracks.”

Power Plant Procedures Properly Performed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission submitted a report yesterday, confirming San Onofre plant operators acted in accordance with safety procedures during a leak six months ago, reports NBC San Diego

The report also confirms the cause of the shutdown was due to tubes carrying steam that wore down due to excessive vibration.

The LA Times also notes that the report lays the blame squarely on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for errors in the computer modeling which would have otherwise predicted the problem before an incident occurred. “Edison has taken 1,317 of the plant’s nearly 39,000 steam generator tubes out of service by plugging them — 387 because they showed wear greater than 35%, the industry standard for plugging, and the rest as a precautionary measure,” reports The LA Times.

We took a big picture look at the plant’s troubles earlier this week, showing how the problem happened and how it threatens the future of a plant responsible for so much of the region’s power.

Gay Pride Paraders Can March in Military Uniform

Yesterday’s Morning Report noted that military service members will, for the first time, be allowed to don their uniforms when marching in the upcoming gay pride parade. Newspapers around the world have taken note, from coverage at USA Today all the way out to Sky News Australia. “It’s going to be awesome for San Diego as a community because it is such a big military town, and it’s the first event since DADT was repealed. There’s going to be a lot of tears,” reports CityBeat.

News Hits

• CityBeat documented, in graphic detail, the grisly issue of prison-rape in San Diego jails and the struggles that victims must overcome just to have their voices heard. “Sex assault is common in San Diego’s lockups and could be getting worse. In 2011, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department recorded its highest number of sexual-victimization allegations in six years,” they report.

• City workers scored a victory yesterday when they were recommended to keep the contract that has them running the Miramar Landfill. Their winning bid came as a result of the “managed competition” process that allowed private companies to bid against city workers. Despite standards that were reduced specifically to pave the way for private companies, “private waste firms balked at taking responsibility for strict environmental standards,” reports NBC San Diego.

City workers have so far won all the competitions with private industry.

• The Dalai Lama will donate surplus revenues earned from his recent visit to San Diego to a local school, reports 10 News. The Dalai Lama’s personal peace emissary announced yesterday that almost $51,000 will be donated to The Monarch School, which will use it “to support a student leadership program being developed to teach students about the importance of civic engagement, leadership and community participation.”

• Heads up! A 50-foot section of the bluffs at Black’s Beach collapsed on Thursday afternoon, shortly after 2:30 p.m. (NBC San Diego)

The Land of Wookies and Zombies

Comic-Con 2012 wrapped up earlier this week, but many people who wanted to go couldn’t get tickets, and possibly even more people didn’t want to go and don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

For those of you who missed out, I suggest you read through this thorough wrap up written by KPBS’ resident geek, Beth Accomando. In it you will find trolls, wookies, movie stars, small business owners and giant media corporations all competing for your attention in the same space. From Robert Downey Jr. to Jason Vorhees, and from a Star Wars barge to the Batmobile cruising Harbor Drive, there is a little something for the nerd deep down inside any of us.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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