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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

February 8, 2010


Rob Kall, Op Ed News - A new survey of over 100 retired NYPD captains and senior officers found that they believed that statistics were manipulated to portray lower crime rates for the compstat program that calculates crime rates..

The survey suggests that police have distorted crime reporting, dropping value of stolen goods so the theft is categorized as misdemeanor instead of felony. They drop categorization of crimes from felony to misdemeanor if suspects can't be found.

One element of the compsat program is the theory that aggressive arrests for the smallest crimes, with a minimum of 24 hours spent in jail, lead to discouraging of repeat offenses.

Compsat, originally adopted by Rudy Giuliani's first police chief, William J. Bratton, is now in use by hundreds of police departments all over the US and the world, including LA, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Baltimore and Vancouver. Many former NYPD officers now operate as consultants to those cities, helping them run the compsat program.

The survey raises the question as to whether the use of this system literally encourages police and district attorneys to manipulate crime reporting.

The NY Times, in an article title, Retired Officers Raise Questions on Crime Data, reported, "In interviews with the criminologists, other retired senior officers cited examples of what the researchers believe was a periodic practice among some precinct commanders and supervisors: checking eBay, other Web sites, catalogs or other sources to find prices for items that had been reported stolen that were lower than the value provided by the crime victim. They would then use the lower values to reduce reported grand larcenies -- felony thefts valued at more than $1,000, which are recorded as index crimes under CompStat -- to misdemeanors, which are not, the researchers said.

"Others also said that precinct commanders or aides they dispatched sometimes went to crime scenes to persuade victims not to file complaints or to urge them to change their accounts in ways that could result in the downgrading of offenses to lesser crimes, the researchers said.

"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 retired New York City police captain." . . .


Blogger John said...

The joke's on them when city councils around the country start to look at these falling crime stats & decide to trim their police forces accordingly.

February 8, 2010 6:19 PM  

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