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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, says 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.

For example, a police report recorded in South Brooklyn in August classifies a situation involving a 25-year-old woman and her estranged husband as “misdemeanor forcible touching,” though the Brooklyn district attorney’s office saw the event differently, and after hearing testimony, charged the man with attempted rape, which is a felony.

One supervisor told the paper 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.

Carroll St Neighbor September 18, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Interesting. The turnout at the community affairs meeting was unusually large last week. The majority of people were complaining of increased crime activity. Capt. Shiff claims that crime is not trending higher. Citizens know better. Seems the 76 is towing the company line.
AnonymousCGer September 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I don't see them a "towing the company line." I see them doing what they can and as being responsive as best they can to our needs. The Captain did explain why we had so many robberies in our area (some sort of displacement from the Red Hook Projects) and he did say that the last two weeks proved to be a lot better. I just check the NYPD web site and it does say crime is down.

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