A year ago, the heads of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York charged that the police department had cooked the books on crime statistics. The basic complaint is that police commanders have forced cops to turn crimes that once would have been reported as felony assaults and grand larcenies into lesser offenses. The goal, accordingly, is to drive down the number of offenses included in a closely watched “index” of seven major crimes, reports the Village Voice.
The police department has made it difficult to find out if there’s any truth to such allegations. The Voice filed a freedom-of-information request in 2001 to get a precinct-by-precinct breakdown for complaints in all categories of crimes. More than three years later, the paper got some statistical information–but not what it had asked for. Others journalists have tried to pry numbers out of the NYPD by using the Freedom of Information Law–with similar non-results.