New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and his predecessor, Raymond Kelly, are in a war of words over the veracity of the New York police tally of shootings and murders. The New York Times says Bratton challenged Kelly to substantiate his claim last week that the department was manipulating the statistics to make it appear that New York is safer than it actually is. “Shame on him,” Bratton said. “Let him back up that accusation.” Kelly responded by saying that people suffering graze wounds as well as those injured by flying glass caused by gunfire were not always recorded as shooting victims; likewise, wounds suffered by an uncooperative victim were now being labeled self-inflicted.
Kelly has said the city had changed the way it counts shootings since Bratton took over as commissioner last year. The city is expected to report a 2 percent drop this year in major crime. The police department said there were 1,125 shootings as of Sunday, down from 1,156 over the same period the year before. The city has had a slight increase in murders, to 340 as of Sunday, but is still near the low of 333 recorded at the end of last year. Kelly said yesterday that the murder numbers were also suspect, suggesting that the category of “circumstances undetermined pending investigation” was being misapplied.