Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Crime Stats: An Anecdotal View Of How The NYPD Manipulates And Distorts Them

UPDATE: Now that someone has used a credit card from my girlfriend's "lost" wallet, the incident has been re-termed "grand larceny."

Nonetheless, my point about the re-categorization of crimes from the post below still stands.

Last night, the two cops who reported to the 911 call were less than eager to take down a report.

Eventually they did, calling the item "lost" and grumpily filling out a report.

Today when my girlfriend found that there had been some fraudulent activity on a credit card that had been in the wallet, she went to the precinct and found that the report filed by the two cops last night was full of errors and hadn't been signed.

The police didn't seem all that serious about filing that report.

Today after a credit card company was involved, the police at the precinct were more serious about filing a report.

Funny how that works - missing your wallet and cash, the cops shrug; have somebody use your credit card without authorization, suddenly they're interested.


Earlier this year, two college professors released a study that accused Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD of understating crime statistics in New York City:

New York, NY - Two academics at an FBI-sponsored conference Friday will accuse the NYPD of cooking the books to make the city appear safer.

The claims are contained in a survey of more than 309 police officers - most of whom have served as precinct commanders since the department started using the CompStat program in the mid-‘90s.

More than half of the respondents admitted to fudging numbers, according to the study by John Eterno of Molloy College and Eli Silverman of John Jay College.

The pair of criminologists will also release recordings they obtained from several roll calls that they say capture supervisors telling officers not to take reports of robberies unless the victim is willing to go to the stationhouse.

The recordings also capture officers being told not to take reports if they think the district attorney will not prosecute.

“It’s putting people in an unreasonable position,” said Silverman, adding that there is growing pressure from top brass to keep the numbers down. “The public needs to understand that crime can fluctuate.”

Silverman said the city needs to change how it views CompStat, a program that maps crime so that police can zero in on problem areas.

“It needs to be less number-driven,” Silverman said. “You can’t just measure [cities] by their crime rate.”

Police did not immediately comment.

Silverman and Eterno, a retired NYPD captain, will present their findings at the Crime Data Conference at John Jay’s West Side campus on 10th Ave.

Mayor Bloomberg himself scoffed at the notion that he has the NYPD fudge stats, saying

Bloomberg told Gambling (thanks to Adam Lisberg for listening and transcribing) that there's certainly pressure to fight crime, but "No. You know, it's, in this day and age, I love this, gonna cook the books. With the press talking all the time, with everybody having Twitter and Facebook and everything, do you really think you could keep anything private anymore? C'mon."

Gambling: "Doesn't seem to be."

Bloomberg: "You got it. So, you know, I, everybody, will they look on the favorable side? You know, you ask me, did we do a good job? Yeah, we did a good job on X. I could say we did a so-so job, but everybody's going to be favorable in their jobs. But no. There isn't any room. Even if you wanted to cook the books, it would be really hard. If you cook the books it isn't going to stay private for very long. Somebody's going to find out about it. And then you're gonna, the management, Kelly on down, is going to come down on you like a brick. And so -- and are there some bad people? There's always somebody who pushes and pushes too much deliberately or accidentally, or gets caught into a scandal and it gets worse and worse and worse. But no. But is there pressure on the individual police officer or sergeant, lieutenant, captain, inspector, chief, to bring crime down? Enormous, and it's going to be more.

"We are not going to tolerate crime. Period. Now, you know, the real world is you're never going to get it down to zero, and this year it's a touch worse than it was last year, but keep in mind you're at a nine-year low, or a record low even, last year. And we're going to keep the pressure on. Anything, anybody that thinks that the police have an easy job is not realistic. Anybody that thinks that they aren't trying isn't realistic either. And, and if anybody that thinks they're not succeeding, only in a relative sense compared to last year. It's a touch worse. But they're not cooking the books."

Last night, my girlfriend and I were walking from 45th and 6th Avenue to the PATH station at 32nd and 6th.

There were a LOT of people on 34th and we were jostled a bit as we crossed 34th Street.

When my girlfriend got to the train station, she discovered her wallet gone.

When the police came to take a report of the incident, they termed it a "lost item."

Even after explaining that there was little way that the wallet could have been lost, that it had to have been taken by somebody slipping his/her hand into my girlfriend's bag while she was walking (it has a clip on the top, but it doesn't close all the way), the police said "No, we cannot determine that it was stolen, only that it is lost. Unless you saw or felt a person take it, the wallet is considered 'lost.'"

This morning at 3:42 AM, somebody tried to buy a meal at McDonald's using a credit card from that "lost" wallet.

Yet the wallet stolen during last night's incident is still termed a "lost item" - just one more crime in this city that was classified as something other than a crime.

Those of us in the NYCDOE know all about the fudging of test scores, graduation rates and other numbers that Bloomberg and Klein use to "prove" their education reforms are working.

I have long said that I bet the same fudging of stats done in the DOE (I dubbed it "Klein-metic") is being done with all kinds of other important stats - like crime statistics, fire fatality statistics, etc.)

I know that this story I have just told here is "anecdotal" and therefore not "proof" of the jive-ass manipulation Bloomberg is pulling off in this city to make himself look like the most brilliant leader since General Eisenhower, but I do believe it is a fairly good indication of just that.

POSTSCRIPT: I know long-time NYers will say "Well, that's what happens when you go around with a bag that doesn't zip. You are just asking to get pickpocketed."

She HAD a bag with a zipper that closed all the way, and also a backpack with a little safety place inside for valuables that she often used for her wallet.

But after a bed bug infestation at her workplace, she tossed those and was using the one she had last night temporarily until she could buy another one with a zipper.

So I guess you could say this summer's bed bug infestation of New York City led indirectly (or not so indirectly) to her being pickpocketed.

Two New York stories in one - crime and bed bugs.

Yikes - why the hell do we still live in this "massive, trash-ridden hellhole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants"?


  1. A few years ago, I noticed an email informing me "that your new cell phone will be delivered" in a few days. I did not order a new cell phone. I traced the delivery info to some address , not mine, in some other part of my borough. it also had the phone number of the receiving party.

    Imagine, here I had the address, and phone number of possibly criminals who at least partially had my identity stolen.

    I go to my local precinct, and told them that they have an easy bust here . . . just go to this address and follow up.

    They outright refused! They came up with some BS that they needed a letter with a "raised seal" from the phone company in order to look into this-a process that would have taken longer then the few days the phone would be delivered.

    Incredible. They simply wouldn't help me in a open and shut case. A joke. AND they were extremely rude and showed me the door when I pressed my case with them . . . Lord help us all.

  2. That's kinda the treatment my girlfriend got from them at first too - until they found out the credit card had been used. Then they got serious about it.

    If the "journalists" who cover our fair city and fair country were less enamored with the powered elite and actually engaged in some real investigative journalism, you know the crap they would find...