NYC Police “Misclassifications” May Have “Appreciable” Crime Rate Effect: Report


A report ordered by New York City’s police commissioner found deficiencies in the Police Department's efforts to detect whether its crime statistics are being manipulated and said “misclassifications” may have “an appreciable effect on certain reported crime rates,” reports the New York Times. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the department had adopted the report’s recommendations, including that the department do more to hold supervisors accountable for “egregious” mistakes in how crimes are classified, even if they did not make the mistakes. The report urged the auditing staff to “be more proactive in pursuing errors that suggest intentional downgrading.”

The report was issued yesterday, more than two years after Kelly asked a committee of former federal prosecutors to review the department's internal crime-reporting system. The report did not address how often such manipulation occurred, but it identified vulnerabilities in the system for auditing the integrity of crime statistics. Before each report of a crime is entered into the computer system, relatively few controls exist to prevent officers from refusing to fill out any paperwork or for sergeants to alter paperwork back in the station house, the review found. For “an officer who wishes to manipulate crime reporting,” the report said there were “few other procedures in place that control the various avenues of potential manipulation.”

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