An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired New York City police officers found that the manipulation of crime reports — downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look better — has long been part of the department’s culture, the New York Times reports. The results showed that pressure on officers to reduce crime rates artificially, while simultaneously increasing summonses and the number of people stopped and often frisked on the street, has intensified in the last decade, criminologists who conducted the research said.
“I think our survey clearly debunks the Police Department's rotten-apple theory,” said professor emeritus Eli Silverman of John Jay College of Criminal justice, referring to arguments that very few officers manipulated crime statistics. “This really demonstrates a rotten barrel.” Silverman did the survey with retired police captain John Eterno. Police spokesman Paul Browne criticized the researchers' methodology and questioned the reliability of the findings, they did not explain how the survey sample was constructed. In the survey, financed by Molloy College. Eterno and Silverman e-mailed a questionnaire to 4,069 former officers who had retired since 1941. Roughly 48 percent — 1,962 retired officers of all ranks — responded.