Violent crime, they say, is especially down.
And yet, we have stories like this one from this morning's Daily News:
Criminals feasted on violence over Thanksgiving.
In a 24-hour span there were eight shootings, five stabbings and at least four slashings — with two of those incidents becoming homicides.
Among the dead was Eric Norman, 18, who was found with a gunshot to the head in the driveway of a home on Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway about 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Police said there were seven other shootings across the city between 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
Eleven people were hit with bullets altogether, but Norman, who has prior collars for drug offenses, was the only fatality. Police did not reveal a motive in his killing, and an arrest had not been made as of Friday night.
The five stabbing incidents left six people with knife wounds, one of whom died of the injuries, police said.
The dead man, a 26-year-old whom police did not identify, was killed in the second installment of violence between groups in Jamaica, Queens, shortly before midnight Friday.
The unidentified man was walking with a pal near 143rd St. and 90th Ave. when they were confronted by three men, police sources said. An argument led to a fight, but it was broken up when a good Samaritan came out of his home.
The three attackers left, but returned a short time later to settle the score. The 26-year-old man was stabbed several times in the torso; he died at Jamaica Hospital. His friend was knifed once in the torso and was in stable condition at the same hospital, police said.
The attackers also got even with the good Samaritan, clubbing him with a baseball bat, one of the sources said. No arrests were made.
In Staten Island, two men and a woman were wounded when a gunman opened fire outside the Da’ Game night club on Van Duzer St. in Stapleton about 2 a.m. Friday.
Six people were bloodied in the four slashings, including two women and a man who were attacked as a nut went wild near Club La Vie in the East Village about 4 a.m. Friday.
A 27-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman had left the club and were standing down the block, on the corner of First St. and First Ave., when a man slashed her face and her companion’s face and chest, a police source said.
A 23-year-old woman who was walking on the street was also slashed in an arm. All survived.
Police said it’s not clear what prompted the vicious assaults, but that a suspect was being questioned last night.
Last April, New York State released a report showing how the city's crime rate ranked in the overall state:
Crime in New York State is on the decline, but embedded in the overall narrative is a shift in the regions where it is taking place.
Specifically, crime within New York City accounted for 63 percent of all the crime within the state in 1990, with the remainder occurring everywhere else in the state outside the boundaries of New York’s five boroughs.
But those numbers are now reversed.
In 2010, reports of crime in the counties outside New York City accounted for 58 percent of all the state’s crime — in the seven major categories of crime, known as index crimes. And the rest of it, or 42 percent, took place within New York City.
That was one takeaway fact from a report issued this week by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ office of research and performance.
“That’s a trend that has been going for a while, but it is certainly noted here,” said John M. Caher, a spokesman for the agency. “Much of the decrease in crime has been driven by New York City.”
To Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman, it is noteworthy that “the flip” in the city’s proportion of statewide crime occurred at a time when the city’s population was increasing.
The state agency’s report is chock full of other facts.
In another New York City-centric offering, it said that while violent crime in the city fell by nearly 30 percent since 2001, “the non-New York City counties reported a decrease of almost 9 percent.”
Each category of violent crime has declined in the city and in the rest of the state since 2001, except for murders, which rose slightly outside the city.
Now I have noted before on this blog how some people in the criminal justice field think the Bloomberg/Kelly crime stats are jive.
In fact, back in 2010, two criminologists published a study showing how the city's crime statistics are just that:
Days after a Brooklyn cop and a Queens politician accused the police of cooking its crime statistics, a survey of more than one hundred retired NYPD higher-ups showed that cops—who are under constant pressure to produce happy-looking stats—have routinely fabricated or manipulated their data, since the crime analysis system was put into place in 1995. And the statistics they produce are the very same that Bloomberg quotes when he says the city is safe, and getting safer every year. “Those people in the CompStat era felt enormous pressure to downgrade index crime, which determines the crime rate, and at the same time they felt less pressure to maintain the integrity of the crime statistics,” said John A. Eterno, one of the researchers and a former NYPD captain.
“As one person said, the system provides an incentive for pushing the envelope,” another researcher, Eli B. Silverman told the NY Times. Together with Eterno he's writing a book tentatively titled “Unveiling Compstat: The Naked Truth.” Researchers think that for one, there was a periodic practice, of underreporting the value of goods stolen, so that there would be fewer grand larcenies (thefts of over $1000) on the record. Other times, they believe that precinct commanders and aides went to crime scenes to convince victims not to file complaints, or to encourage them to file less serious complaints.
Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman, said the study was flawed because of its anonymity, and because multiple respondents could be remembering the same incidents. He added that there have been two other, better studies analyzing crime stats. One, administered by NYU concluded that, “the city and department officials, and the public can be reasonably assured that the N.Y.P.D. data are accurate, complete and reliable.”Still, those surveyed were frank in their criticism of the system. “CompStat was a good idea in theory,” wrote one respondent. “However the process rules managerial decisions. We do not manage to serve people but to lower crime statistics any way we can because your career depends on it.”
Now I'm not a cop and don't claim to be one. I'm not a criminologist and don't claim to be one of those either.
But as a teacher, I have seen the system that Bloomberg and his chancellor Joel Klein out into place that rewarded schools that manipulated crime stats, graduation rates, test scores etc. and punished schools that didn't.
You don't have to be a genius to make the leap from "manipulated education stats" to "manipulated crime stats" when cops are claiming they work under the same kind of system that rewards those who "lower crime statistics any way we can" rather than, you know, actually lowering crime.
Two anecdotal stories to add to this.
My wife had her wallet stolen a year back in Herald Square. It was quite clear it was stolen there. When we walked into a crowd outside Victoria's Secret on 34th and 6th Avenue, she had it on her. When we walked out of that crowd and attempted to use the PATH train on 32nd and 6th, it was gone. The police refused to declare this incident a crime, insisting that she didn't know whether it was stolen or lost. It wasn't until somebody used her credit card later to buy a Happy Meal at a McDonald's in Washington Heights that the cops were forced to declare the incident a crime (unlawful use of a credit card is a felony.)
A co-worker of mine told me a story that happened to his friend in Midtown. He was in a deli when he saw two guys in the store begin to beat up somebody else in the store. Not knowing what was happening, he began yelling "Hey, what are you doing?" when somebody cold-cocked him from the side and knocked him out. When he awoke, he found himself laying in the street, face bruised and bloodied. He attempted to get the police to investigate, but first one precinct told him he was in the wrong jurisdiction, then when he finally got to the right precinct, the police refused to make a report. One cop said that it looked more like a lover's spat than a crime and he ought to take it easy when arguing with his boyfriend. My co-worker said that his friend said he left the precinct in disgust, unable to file a report, frustrated by the red tape that sent him to two different precincts, and angered over the treatment he got from the police.
Now again, these stories are anecdotal and the NYPD claims the 2010 report is flawed and Bloomberg points to all the tourists that feel safe enough to come to the city every year as proof positive that New York City is safe and crime is down.
But every time I see a story like the one from the Daily News about the violence that took place in the city over a 24 hour period, violence that even the NYPD could not mischaracterize or refuse to file reports on, I really do wonder just how phony the Bloomberg/Kelly crime miracle is.
Is it as phony as the Bloomberg/Klein education miracle?