Despite numbers that give the impression of a spike in the city’s crime rate, Brentwood remains within its 10-year average, officials say.

In February last year, Brentwood police — alongside departments across the nation — implemented a new reporting system, the National Incident Based Reporting System, which changed how crimes are captured. NIBRS eliminated the hierarchy rule that was previously used to collect data.

Brentwood Police Department Chief Tim Herbert shared 2023’s data during a recent City Council meeting and highlighted the total reportable offenses to be 3,444 in 2023 — 1,434 more reported offenses than in 2022. He pointed to the new reporting system as the reason.

“This doesn’t mean that we had 1,434 more crimes,” Herbert explained. “It just means that we reported on more than we had in the previous years.”

A comparison of Brentwood's violent crime statistics shows an apparent decrease in most categories between 2022 and 2023. Despite new reporting methods that give the appearance of a dramatic increase in crime in the city, Police Chief Tim Herbert said the statistics remain within the 10-year average. (City of Brentwood)

Herbert provided an example of the difference between the old reporting system and the new one: for a single incident involving kidnapping, robbery and homicide, the previous method would be to report the highest crime — in this case, the homicide. With NIBRS, all three would be reported.

Due to the change in reporting, Herbert warned that the comparison of 2022 and 2023 would not provide an apples-to-apples examination of data. In 2023, incidents of rape (6), arson (14), aggravated assault (104) and simple assault (394) appear to decrease in 2023 compared to 2022, when there had been 28 reports of rape, 19 of arson, 113 of aggravated assault and 440 of simple assault within the city of Brentwood. However, even the definitions for some of these crimes have changed; Herbert explained that the old system wasn’t granular enough. By this time next year, the metrics will provide more comparable data, he added.

“(If) I call 911 because there was just a homicide in my home, my kid was kidnapped and my car was stolen ... That’s still one incident. It just has three crimes.”

Chief Tim Herbert

While the number of reported crimes remains within the city’s 10-year average, the workload for officers answering calls for service or responding to collisions increased by 6 percent for a force that added just one officer during the year.

Jaylene Walker, executive assistant to the chief, was involved in capturing the data and compiling the report. She said metrics for reporting calls for service have stayed the same.

“So I call 911 because there was just a homicide in my home, my kid was kidnapped and my car was stolen,” Walker explained. “That’s still one call for service. That’s still one police report. That’s still one incident. It just has three crimes.”

A slideshow of the Brentwood Police Department’s annual performance report can be found online. Chief Herbert’s report at the March 26 City Council begins at 19:49 of the meeting video.