An on-line poll by The Trentonian showed that only seven percent of respondents believe city statistics showing crime at an all-time low. More than 60 percent said they think the figures are phony. City Police Director Joe Santiago blamed the media for the public mistakenly believing crime is worse than authorities are reporting. Santiago blasted the cops and other critics who are anonymously speaking out or using Internet blogs to allege that officers on the street are downgrading offenses at the curb. The poll, posted on www.trentonian.com the week after officials released Trenton's record-low crime stats for 2006, showed that a big majority felt crime had remained the same, at best.
Several police officers, some current and some retired, all had stories to tell about instances they said they witnessed, where crimes were intentionally downgraded or classified incorrectly. The officers allege that there is substantial pressure to keep numbers down during regular weekly meetings on crime trends and statistics. They said the practice has become commonplace, with officers in supervisory positions well aware of what the higher-ups expect of them. Each of the sources told The Trentonian that burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and other crimes are often overly scrutinized as police supervisors look for reasons to downgrade them.