A DIP IN CRIME or THE HEIGHT OF SPIN?
In today’s New York Times, Al Baker and Janet Roberts report Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s claim that “overall crime in the city is down again in 2010.” Rape, murders, and robberies are up but if we lump together violent crimes and property theft complaints, including grand larcenies, crime is down overall.
This is the most convoluted attempt to manipulate the public into believing the N.Y P.D. crime spin I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t make any more sense than the notion that beef and bread (oranges and apples) are the same or belong in the same statistical food group.
If I believe such claims then I also would have to assume pigs fly, adult dinosaurs were once pink, and Ray Kelly is God, none of which seems likely. More important I’d rather have a few petty thefts on the rise, even the “liberation” of cars, than rapes, armed robberies, murders and other types of violent crimes.
Not that we can trust the NYPD crime statistics regarding anything but possibly homicide. Check out the study by Eli Silverman’s and John Eterno, a former NYPD commander.These scholars have published a study in a peer review journal about the manipulation of crime statistics in which a sample of about 75 NYPD police commanders were interviewed. The authors conclude that “pressures to decrease index crime were much greater during the Compstat era; and the pressure to maintain integrity in crime statistics was greater in the pre-Compstat era.”
I suspect the manipulation of crime statistics has gotten far worse since Kelly became Police Commissioner and CompStat expanded its tentacles into every nook and cranny of the police world, putting even low level supervisors in almost every unit and precinct under pressure to keep the numbers down.
The Village Voice reported recordings made by Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of the 81 Precinct in which supervisors instructed their cops not to take crime reports for robbery if victims are not willing to go to the station house. Allegations didn’t only come from the 81 precinct. I’ve also heard similar claims from officers who are too frightened to talk to the press.
The odd part of all this spin is that it isn’t really necessary.
I, for one, would rather know the truth. I don’t blame the cops for economic conditions they can’t control that might result in an increase in crime.
I do blame the current administration for expanding CompStat to micromanage and maintain control, inflating the ranks of individuals working inside relevant units to compile statistics for CompStat and handle the myriad of other computerized paperwork that takes our officers off of the street.
I also blame the administration for putting too many cops and detectives inside offices in Counterterrorism, staring blindly at computers with not a lot to do but look busy when a boss passes by their desks.
Additional manpower is wasted sending detectives abroad, duplicating efforts of other law enforcement agencies and finding little data that helps the NYPD minimize threat in New York City.
It would be nice to have transparency in the NYPD today and accountability by the Police Commissioner to the people he has sworn to serve. We, the public, pay his salary.