New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton tells the New York Times that a New Year’s Eve story on shooting data may have left a false impression that his department is not counting some assaults. In a letter to the newspaper, Bratton says that, “We do not count as shootings those cases in which bullets pass through victims' clothes without striking the victims. Nor do we count as shootings those cases in which victims are injured by broken glass or debris caused by gunfire.” Both categories of such cases would be counted as aggravated assaults as defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, Bratton said.
Bratton noted that shootings are not a UCR reporting category, but a subset of aggravated assaults. NYPD chose to track shootings separately from aggravated assaults when he first was police commissioner in 1994, Bratton said. There were more than 5,200 that year, about 100 a week, compared with about 1,130 in 2015. “We used the shooting data to focus on shootings as never before, and by 1998, the N.Y.P.D. had pushed down shootings by more than 3,500 incidents a year,” Bratton said.