The Federal Bureau of Investigation purposely distorted its latest round of annual crime statistics in an attempt to make mass shootings appear more prevalent, an expert criminologist says.

John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, says the agency, which has strayed from bias in the past, appears to have edited the numbers for political reasons.

“The FBI put out a clearly incorrect set of numbers on public shootings shortly before the November election last year,” Lott told Fox News. “I have been reading FBI reports for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this.”

The statistics, published last September, claim that “mass shooter” incidents have seen a drastic rise between the years 2000 and 2013.

“FBI figures released last September appear to show so-called ‘mass shooter’ attacks and deaths have dramatically increased since 2000,” journalist Perry Chiaramonte writes. “The report asserted there were a total 160 such incidents in public places between 2000 and 2013, with attacks dramatically increased to 17 in 2013 from just one in 2000. The statistics also showed murders jumping to 86 from just seven over the span.”

According to Lott, all reports of standard “active shooting incidents” were combined with actual mass shooting events, making the latter appear to be vastly more frequent.

“It is one thing for the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the National Institute of Justice to put out politically biased studies, but there has always been a Chinese wall separating the FBI raw data collection from political pressures,” Lott stated.

After removing the manipulated numbers, Lott and the Crime Prevention Research Center say the revised statistics show a 50 percent decrease in the annual growth rate for homicides in mass shootings.

“The administration has obviously been willing to do a lot to push for gun control; with everything from ‘Operation Choke Point’ to ‘Fast and Furious,’ and this is just part of that push. Given the level of politicization in [the] Department of Justice, this is not particularly surprising,” Lott said.

Although a large number of Americans believe gun crime has risen due largely in part to media manipulation, in actuality, gun crime has plunged more than 75 percent in the last 20 years.

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