The New Orleans Police Department has an “institutional problem” classifying rapes, contributing to sexual assault statistics that are far below the norm for cities of similar size and crime rates, the city’s inspector general said Tuesday. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that as he unveiled results of an audit a year in the making, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said there was no evidence that police deliberately under-reported rape statistics submitted for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, which tracks nationwide data.
Still, the report slams the department for lapses in internal controls that contributed to rape statistics that were 43 percent lower than those from 24 other cities with the country’s highest crime rates in 2012. “By misclassifying the UCR data, the actual crimes that occurred were unknown to the public as well as law enforcement,” Quatrevaux said. “NOPD should ensure its officers are in compliance with its policies and procedures, and do a better job of making sure crime data is reported accurately.” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas disputed the inspector general’s findings, saying internal reviews and external audits by the legislative auditor, the FBI and the state Commission on Law Enforcement have “failed to show any pattern or practice on the part of NOPD to downgrade the reporting of crime.”