New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly maintains that his city’s crime statistics are accurate, blaming criticism from retired police commanders in a survey reported last week on the bad taste that the CompStat program left in their mouths in its early days. Writing in the New York Daily News, Kelly complained that the survey did not have respondents “disclose when they retired, to see to what degree the conduct of early Compstat meetings may have driven their responses.” The survey also failed to document whether respondents’ awareness of problems was based on personal experience or hearsay, Kelly said.
In a rebuttal, criminologists John Eterno and Eli Silverman stand by their survey work. They tell the Daily News that the police department “has responded to concerns by saying it has ratcheted up the pressure to maintain data integrity. These audit practices are worthy – but they reinforce our central proposition: that the department is spending more energy on the symptoms – statistical distortions – than on the source of these symptoms, Compstat pressures.”