Audit Finds NYPD Officers Manipulate Crime Statistics

July 3, 2013 | Andy Cush

Yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced a report that found NYPD officers make “egregious” errors in classifying crimes, sometimes intentionally, in order to report lower crime statistics. Kelly ordered the audit two years ago, and it was carried committee of prominent attorneys.

“Performance is — at least in part — measured by the ability to ‘reduce crime,'” the report states, explaining why crime misclassification is sometimes carried out. If an officer can easily make a robbery look like a lost property claim, or grand larceny look like petty theft–both of which are documented in the audit–he or she can make the precinct and department look like it is performing better than it actually is.

Though the report takes care to mention that the findings shouldn’t discredit the department’s reputation for reducing crime in recent years, it’s a little like finding out Mark McGwire was juicing when he broke the home run record, casting doubt over all of the NYPD’s reported statistics.

To rectify the situation, the committee recommended more oversight on the ways crimes are reported. Sounds like a job for the Inspector General.