Skip to comments.NYC, “Safest Big City,” Systematically Falsifying Crime Statistics
Posted on 08/13/2012 9:40:42 AM PDT by marktwain
Every gun controllers favorite Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is awfully proud of his citys crimefighting record. He never misses a chance to tell someone holding a mic that New York is the safest big city in the country. And he usually trots this claim out following a gang-related shooting or when a cop takes a bullet in the line of duty. Right after first decrying the prevalence of guns in America, that is . . .
In fact, Hizzoner practically busted his buttons during last weekends National Night Out, blowing the New York safety horn yet again. nypost.com has the quote:
The proof is in the numbers. Take a look crime here is down 36 percent from where it was in 2001, he (said) at a block party hosted by the 32nd Precinct in Harlem. Since 2001, the NYPD had cut crime citywide by 32 percent and made this the safest big city in the nation.
Thats a hell of an impressive stat. It would be even more impressive it it were true. According to a little-noticed piece at HuffPo last week, the NYPD has been systematically understating the citys crime statistics for years.
The practice of manufacturing artificially low crime rates increased substantially after 2002 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his police commissioner Raymond Kelly. New research based on interviews with 2,000 retired police officers from the NYPD reveals pervasive, system-wide corruption of criminal records and police practices. This research suggests that concern with the departments reputation for reducing crime, much more than with public safety, drives police policy.
How is this done? Simple. Cops simply downgrade the severity of reported crimes in the departments crime-tracking system. An artful turn of phrase and voila! A felony sexual assault becomes simple battery.
But hey, theyre only statistics, right? Bits and bites that get passed onto the FBI for their Uniform Crime Reports. That stuff only really matter to numbers geeks, mayors and the local chamber of commerce. Except when potentially actionable data is compromised and cops on the street are directed to other parts of the city than where theyre really needed.
The consequences of downgrading or not reporting crimes can be severe. For example, in 2010 recently retired Detective Harold Hernandez revealed to Village Voice reporter Graham Rayman that a series of sexual assault-robberies in Washington Heights had been downgraded from serious felonies to misdemeanors. As a result, the NYPD missed the crime pattern and allowed a sexual predator to remain at large for at least two months and to commit six more rapes.
Lets be real, though. This kind of thing probably happens in every big city. Smaller ones too, at least to some extent. Except its gotten a lot worse since 2001 when Mayor Mike and Chief Cop Kelly took the helm.
Researchers compared interviews with over two thousand retired cops (the only ones who feel free to speak without possibility of retribution). Of those who retired before 1995, 25% reported theyd seen reports falsified. Cops retiring between 1996 and 2001 saw it 28% of the time.
However, in the Kelly/Bloomberg era (2002 and after) over half the officers 51 percent had observed the intentional misclassification of serious crimes as petty offenses and other unethical practices, typically multiple times. Officers also reported that since 2002 they had experienced unusually strong pressures from supervisors to downgrade crimes and keep crime numbers low.
So under-reporting serious crime in New York has basically doubled under the Bloomberg/Kelly regime. Its almost as if all those safest big city in the country proclamations are just smoke and mirrors intended to make residents think theyre safer than they really are. Not to mention justifying the citys ridiculously restrictive gun control laws.
But never underestimate three academics ability to draw the wrong conclusions. Or prescribe answers that conveniently fit with their political or world views, whatever real world experience may indicate.
There is now a clear message emanating from the top commanders at police headquarters: make many stop and frisks, write many summonses, make many arrests for petty offenses, and downgrade serious crimes. In other words, the NYPD seeks to keep the serious crime numbers low while showing lots of officer activity. The NYPDs 50,000 marijuana arrests, 600,000 summonses, and nearly 700,000 stop and frisks do little or nothing to make the city safer. Indeed, this unnecessary activity alienates communities and hurts the NYPDs ability to fight serious and violent crimes.
Lets just be glad the three authors havent been asked to screw in a light bulb. The trio (two professors and a law student) arent fans of stop and frisk, never mind weed prohibition. They see S&F as racial profiling, pure and simple, and a civil rights violation. And in the absence of probable cause, they wont get any arguments here.
But while stop and frisk has stirred up plenty of sturn und drang especially in the citys minority communities theres no evidence that its not also effective at preventinging crime. And the strategy isnt universally hated, either. It has no shortage of support from those on both the left and the right.
In fact, stop and frisk would seem to continue in the successful tradition of the kind of proactive policing zero tolerance for low level crimes, busting subway turnstile jumpers, squeegee men and streetcorner pot smokers that was used to great effect by Rudi Giuliani and his Police Chief, William Bratton.
That broken windows approach locking up petty offenders before they graduate to more serious crimes helped turn the city around and began the significant (and, ahem, real) reductions in crime rates when it had become almost unlivable after decades of textbook urban management.
While determining NYCs actual violent crime rate should be a priority, throwing out politically incorrect but effective crimefighting strategies with the statistically falsified bathwateras the authors advocatewould seem to be more than a little counterproductive.
Heres a better idea: restore New York Citys residents right to keep and bear arms and see what happens. Its worth a try.
I would rather walk in a Detroit blackout than any number of these unarmed “safe” cities.
Police have proven themselves to be terrible at statistics, time and time again.
I have a friend who was a doctor in Russia and she talks about medical statistics there still clinging to the soviet standards.
She said that they would get stacks of death certificates with a cause of death already filled in and they had to try to match them to patients. Early in the month is would be easy because they hadn’t used up their allotment of pancreatic cancer certificates. However by the end of the month they would be reporting children having died of things typical in geriatric patients.
Hizonner isn’t the first to accomplish this feat. Altlanta was caught over 25 years ago by the FBI falsifying crime statistics. Murders, assaults were all reclassified to lesser statisitical markers.
BEVERLY HARVARD, Maynard Jackson’s personal driver, subsequent POLICE CHIEF, was behind it. Black bravado, ‘prove it sucka’, pimp-style rule, bolstered by a black mayor.
Last I read about her is that she occupies some sort of position with the DHS...makes one feel good, doesn’t it?
During NYC Mayor Dinkins’ era not only were they reducing the charges, the NYPD brass forced a policy of non-reporting of felony crimes that didn’t involve ambulance calls.
Several women I knew that had been victims of purse snatchings accompanied by punches or being thrown to the ground were talked out of filing complaints.
“Well, you know there’s very little chance that we’ll be able to find these guys given you didn’t really get a good view of the guy.”
“We found your purse and your wallet around the corner. Please check for missing I’d and credit cards. Oh, you only had about thirty dollars. Do you have insurance?”
“No? The reason I ask is that we need you to come to the precinct to file a complaint with one of the detectives. No. I can’t really tell you how long that might take. You should take the whole day off.”
“You sure you don’t need to go to the ER? Okay, well we can drop you off at your apt to make sure you get home safe”
That was the tone of the street cops used in the questing at the site of the crime. Questioning that might last more than a couple of hours. The intent was to encourage despair and reinforce the fact that justice wasn’t on the table despite any additional efforts on the part of the victim seeking it.
Local precinct patrol cops admitted that the verbal instructions came ultimately from the janitor occupying Grace Mansion. Hard time to be a cop back then. Even harder to be a NYC resident.
You've just described America! (master of the obvious).
This program started under Giuliani (or prior?) so blaming it on Bloomberg is simply obfuscation. Anyway this type of stat adjusting is nationwide.
Fact is big city PD's are not in the protect and serve business anymore it's about revenue generation. When was the last time you saw a cop directing traffic at a malfunctioning traffic light? You're on your own!
Read these amazing statistics. Baltimore has more murders than rapes, (not really) while nationwide its 5 to 1 (rapes to murders). You see it's more difficult to dumb down murder now isn't it?
As for the author, 'live by the sword, die by the sword.'
"If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate."
That's why I use murder stats when discussing violent crime. Much harder to manipulate.
That's why I use murder stats when discussing violent crime. Much harder to manipulate.