Update II: iWitness Fraud

03 20, 2013 by LMOGA

One month after a LMOGA analysis identified a series of significant errors at the core of the Bucket Brigade’s (LABB) “iWitness Map” series, the group gamely decided this week to take another stab – this time, at an updated report for February.

Readers of our blog will remember that in LABB’s Feb. 15 response to our original analysis, the group assured us that it would be “working to clarify the format” of the next report – presumably to avoid a replay of its previous effort. Unfortunately, though, looking at the installment for Feb., the only thing that’s been clarified is the considerable distance that LABB still has to go before it can reasonably be considered credible.

Just like last time around, LABB continues to alternately confuse and (when convenient) re-write the definition of “All Reports,” while misrepresenting the number of Citizen Reports it receives, and posting citizens accounts numbers that don’t even come close to the figures compiled by the National Response Center. Sure, some of these issues could be addressed through a few format changes. But one issue in particular demonstrates the group’s ability to get creative with the stats.

Last time around, we noted that the monthly report didn’t match what’s in the group’s own database. For January, the iWitness Monthly Report counted 273 total reports, while a search on the iWitness website generated 278. The group later blamed this discrepancy on retroactive reports, or “reports submitted in February for observations made in January.”

To its credit, LABB was kind enough to share a couple of these retroactive reports, including the dates when the incidents supposedly were to have occurred. In both examples, the incidents happened at the beginning of the month with as many as 24 days in between when the incident occurred and when it was reported. Ask yourself: Do you remember what you did 24 days ago?

LABB’s database for the month of February shows a total of 236 reports. The February iWitness report only identifies 234. That means that between January and February alone, at least seven retroactive reports have been added to the database. Over the course of a year, that sort of trend could generate more than 40 old reports of incidents fuzzy on details, exaggerated over time, or simply made up.

LABB says they're making adjustments to the month reports to better the "lay person's understanding." We'll believe it when we see it.