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Buffalo mayor to give media back its access to crime details

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  1. Newsgathering
Faced with spreading criticism, the mayor of Buffalo agreed Thursday to restore basic crime details that have vanished from the police computer that…

Faced with spreading criticism, the mayor of Buffalo agreed Thursday to restore basic crime details that have vanished from the police computer that reporters use.

According to The Buffalo News, an unnamed police official had decided, apparently within the last couple months, to stop providing journalists with such fundamental details as the location of a crime. Just this week, the newspaper said, two men held up a home at gunpoint, but the police would not say where it happened.

Mayor Byron W. Brown reportedly called the policy change a mix-up caused by a "poorly worded memo."

“My desire is to provide more information — not less; more transparency — not less," Brown told The News. He said he planned to go beyond restoring the details and move quickly to put crime data on the agency’s Web site.

Brown also pledged to let more police officials talk with journalists. According to the newspaper, even the department spokesman had become reticent about crime details. The News traces the departmental clamp-down back to newspaper reports last fall exposing a criminal investigation the agency had kept quiet.