Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Forgery falls further

Yesterday, I was reviewing our monthly statistical report for July. A number jumped out at me: 347. That is the number of forgeries investigated by the Lincoln Police Department in the first seven months of 2009. It’s down from 369 during the same period in 2008—a 6% decline. These numbers seemed very low to me. I checked. They are indeed very low, and part of a dramatic downturn. The bottom has essentially dropped out of forgery cases since the peak in 2005.



I blogged once before about the long-term decline in another crime—auto theft—and it’s likely cause. What do you think is driving this large decrease in forgery cases, occurring over a relatively short time period?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose the drop is largely due to advances in technology? For instance many places, like Wal-Mart now scan checks instead of keeping them? Also, photo identification is now harder to fake. In addition, video cameras are now everywhere making it easier to identify the person. I don't really believe people have reformed, or changed their ways, but those are my two cents anyway.

redstripe11 said...

Blame the schools!

Elementary schools put too little emphasis on penmanship these days.

Plus, teachers send parents e-mails or call them on disciplinary issues. Little Johny can't learn to forge mom and dad's signature if there's no note to carry home.

Anonymous said...

It might be interesting to see a chart of illicit/unauthorized use of stolen/"borrowed" (by kids/gf/gf/etc) debit and credit cards over the same year range. Perhaps more people are having their debit cards ripped off, and aren't carrying paper checks as often.

Anonymous said...

Chief,
I don't believe forgeries are dropping at all. I just think that banks and businesses are not reporting them like they once were.

-js- said...

I suspect that the 'Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act' (aka Check 21) has some culpability in the decline. Coincidentally, it was signed in 2003 and became effective in 2004.

Anonymous said...

two words... debit cards

Anonymous said...

Bernie Made off with all the blank checks..pun intended

Trevor Brass said...

Nigerian 419 scammers are running out of dirver\'slicenses from elderly citizens new to the information superhighway.

Tom Casady said...

All-

I think you're all on the right track. The changing nature of check-writing and growing use of debit cards have certainly reduced the opportunity. The absence of the original source document in many banks has also no doubt resulted in fewer reports.

I expected to see a parallel increase in fraud cases over this same period, but that does not appear to be the case in our data.

Anonymous said...

This sort of hits on the theft of the checks themselves. Do you have data on how many males are victims of losing a wallet due to larceny (from auto, off a bar table, from a desk drawer or locker, out of an unattended shopping cart, etc, any larceny) vs how many females are victims of the same? If it's not easy to crunch up, don't worry about it.

Anonymous said...

The felony amount increased from $75.00 to $300.00 and more companies and banks are just reporting felonies and not the misdemeanors.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

They know they better not mess with my checks.

Anonymous said...

Could you check on the number of drivers who flick items from the motor vehicles they drive. I was wondering how many boogers are flipped from the pointer finger and how many are rolled around prior to launch. How many of the boogers are tossed from passing cars and how many are flicked to the sidewalk by walkers, August 26, 2009 12:22 PM started the line of questions, and I thought I would expand.
The nice thing about graphs is that they have unlimited potential.

Trevor Brass said...

Sorry about going off-topic but it is tangentially related. I have noticed a sign at the 70th and Pioneers Wells Fargo bank branch with a sign near the entrance denoting its space as "Reserved for Lincoln Police Department" -- what is the story behind this?

Tom Casady said...

2:56-

Well, I suppose that would technically be a violation of Lincoln Municipal Ordinance 8.22.070, although I don't think it would ever be prosecuted.

I can't slice this data by the specific type of waste or refuse, but I can tell you that there have been 133 littering dispatches this year, and that 62 or those are coded with "Street" as the location.

Tom Casady said...

Trevor Brass:

First I've heard of it. I can see the backside of the sign, though, with the PZT traffic cam at 70th and Pioneers. I can think of a few other locations around town with reserved parking stalls for the police--hospitals, schools, a few other businesses. I suppose from the bank's standpoint, it helps create the impression that the police are regular visitors. The target audience might be would-be criminals.

Anonymous said...

I asked the question at 12:22, because in order for a stolen check to be used, it first has to be...stolen. Checks are stolen primarily when they are left unattended. Men are far, far more likely to keep their checkbooks (and wallets) in their pocket when out in public and in unsecured work areas. Few men put their wallet and checkbook in a purse or tote bag to be set down here and there when they are out and about. Few men leave their purse in their car when they just run in somewhere. Some metro guys do leave their wallets here and there, but they are a minor exception.

Incidentally, no smart woman ever leaves her purse/wallet/checkbook unattended either, only the women that wish to be larceny victims. Too often, they get their wish. Valuables around strangers are like food around dogs, you just don't leave any of it where they can snag it.

Trevor Brass said...

Himm, you can control the dome cameras from your computer? The Engineering Services department used to have a message on their website about those cameras in operation for traffic management purposes only. Has there been a paradigm shift?