New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign touts a continued drop in crimes police have reported. Tell that to the people in the emergency rooms, reports the Village Voice. The number of people who went to New York City hospitals because they were assaulted jumped sharply in four of the last five years for which figures are available–a direct contrast to the plunging number of assaults the New York Police Department. These hospital visits are numbered in statistics of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Injury Epidemiology–every bit as official as the police department data showing fewer and fewer serious assaults “known to the police.”
The stark contrast between these two sets of official statistics demonstrates the need for a thorough, independent probe of the police department’s crime reports. The Voice says it shows how wrong it was for the Bloomberg administration to have allowed the police department to thwart a probe earlier this year of the crime statistics. In 2002, the last year for which data are available and Bloomberg’s first year in office, the number of assault victims either hospitalized or treated in emergency rooms shot up 6 percent from the year before. From 1997 until 2002, the number of assault victims who were either hospitalized or treated in emergency rooms in the city went up in every year but one for a total increase of 19 percent. This trend is the direct opposite of the continued slide in the number of assaults the police department reported to the FBI for the Uniform Crime Reports.