NYPD Officers Say They're Pressured to Keep Crime Stats Low

Some say they're pressured by their supervisors to classify more crimes as misdemeanors, rather than felonies.

Some New York City police officers say they’ve been pressured by their bosses to reduce the number of felony incidents reported, in an effort to keep crime statistics low, reported the New York Times.

According to the paper, though Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly produced a decline in crime and maintained a perception that the city was a much safer place than in years past, in truth, the yearly crime rate rose in 2011, and is currently another 4.4 percent higher than last year.

Kelly created a panel in January 2011 to analyze the crime-reporting system, but the panel has not issued a public report yet. In addition, the NYPD conducts regular audits of police reports to detect misclassified crimes; in 2011, the error rate was 1.5 percent.

In a review of more than 100 police reports from the last four months provided to the Times, the paper found a number of instances in which the police report made the crime out to be less serious than the district attorney – or a victim – would argue subsequently.

“[This] illustrates how desperately Bloomberg's police department requires reform and independent oversight," said Joo-Hyun Kang, a spokesperson from Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). "Pressure on the department to report low crime numbers that don't match reality hurts New Yorkers and prioritizes statistics over safety.  

"The Community Safety Act, which is currently pending in the City Council, would provide needed reforms and independent oversight to improve the NYPD and avoid issues like this from going unaddressed.”

One NYPD supervisor told the paper said it was common for officers “to tweak the complaint reports” after pressure from sergeants and lieutenants, and to “leave out something” or “change the facts of the situation to make it a non-felony crime.”

“Do I feel that supervisors based on some real or perceived pressure may reclassify crimes? 'Yes,'” said Wilford Pinkney, a former detective who retired in 2009.

BRADY September 19, 2012 at 04:43 AM
the police report made the crime out to be less serious than the district attorney-or a victim-would argue subsequently.the district attorney usually downgrades the crime to get a conviction, a conviction is a plus ,a dismissal is a negative ,the victim never knows the law i.e they ROBBED my house !(BURGLARY).i was ROBBED ! i left my bag over there and when i came back it was gone (LARCENY). so yes the management of the nypd plays with the numbers ,but victims have no idea what what their talking about ,it's not tv folks so dont spew your tv law school education and yes the da's office will downgrade your case for a conviction
Albert C. Thompson September 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Crime Stat reports are published daily over nyc.gov/police/precincts/crimestats. I have attempted to access the 79 Pct. Stats for months with occasional success. The site for the 79 claims technical difficulty. Every other precinct in Brooklyn and NYC post their Crime Stats weekly including the 77, 75, 81 as required by law except the 79. Are we not entitled to disclosure or is posting crime stats arbitrary for Precinct Commanders?


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