Fulton County had one of the lowest overall rates for recovered property in 2001, according to data from the Arkansas Crime Information Center.
ACIC reported that in 2001 Fulton County had a recovery rate of 9.6 percent.
In response Fulton County Sheriff Lloyd Martz said some cases are pending and recovered property is being held, so he questions the validity of the ACIC figures.
Office manager Jan Cantrell and chief jailer JoAnn Cun-ningham said a recurring problem has been a lack of follow-up from officers preparing their reports on recovered items.
Cantrell and Cunningham said they were made aware of the problem by UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting) clerk Brenda Traw who prepares the reports for ACIC. Cantrell said Salem and Mammoth Spring police departments are included in that figure.
Cantrell said the sheriff's office has never had a problem with the city of Salem because Police Chief Albert Roork gets his recovery reports done in a timely manner.
But that hasn't always been the case with the Mammoth Spring Police Department and the sheriff's office, both Cantrell and Traw agreed.
Traw said she has no way of knowing if stolen items have been found at a local level if the officer doesn't notify her. If she isn't given the proper information then ACIC is not made aware of the items located.
"It's a communication lapse. I know we have recovered a lot more stuff than that," said Martz.
Martz said a new system was implemented Jan. 1 called NIBRS. The old system, UCR, did not identify when and where crimes occurred or characteristics of suspects and victims. It is being replaced by a program called the National Incident Based Reporting System.
In a press release Relativity Inc. announced it was selected by ACIC to provide a NIBRS offense/incident system to public safety agencies throughout the state. NIBRS is backed by the FBI and other organizations nationwide because it provides ad-ditional crime information and more details about the crimes than the summary-reporting system previously in use.
"Relativity is committed to the success of this project and is proud to play an active role in assisting the public safety organizations across Arkansas in implementing an automated records management system with FBI certified reporting capability," said company president Dillon Watkins.
The use of NIBRS will make crime statistics increase, said Martz, because every offense will be reported and not just the serous crimes.
Traw said under the old UCR system it was considered a hierarchical system which mandated reporting of only the most serious crimes.
Martz explained the new system will help correct the problem with the investigative officers because it will force them to get the information to the proper channels.
"It will be a good data base for all crimes being committed," Martz added.