I agree that this is a decent website that doesn't 'cook the books'.
Citizen's Crime Watch Home Page
I'm with other professionals that say the better a police department is the more likely that crime will be reported.
There are many reasons that crime isn't reported and not having faith in 'the system' is one way to ensure that crime isn't reported when it occurs. Regardless, stats can be manipulated to meet whatever politician can spin it their way. The best way I have found is to build get in good with the beat officers that are in that area but that takes time and often people want the real-deal without spending any effort to filter thru the data.
Speaking of politics, I've seen signs for county coroner. What platform does one have to run on to elected as the coroner?