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Survey of the Day: Police Officers Admit They Downplay Crimes

Survey of the Day: Police Officers Admit They Downplay Crimes
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New York City police officers are pressured to "artificially reduce crime rates," according to an anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers.

The survey, conducted via email by researchers at Molloy College, found that many officers had downgraded crimes to lesser offenses. Others had discouraged victims from filing complaints. The goal? To get better stats, something that's long been a goal of the New York Police Department.

"I think our survey clearly debunks the Police Department’s rotten-apple theory," Eli B. Silverman, one of researchers, told The New York Times. "This really demonstrates a rotten barrel." The police department, naturally, is questioning the report's methodology and findings.

According to the New York Times (which was given a sneak peek at the results):

One officer, who retired in 2005, wrote that he heard a deputy commissioner say in a “pre-CompStat meeting” that a commanding officer “should just consolidate burglaries that occurred in an apartment building and count as one.”

“Also not to count leap-year stats.” Another respondent, who retired in 2008, wrote, “Assault becomes harassment, robbery becomes grand larceny, grand larceny becomes petit larceny, burglary becomes criminal trespass.”

Photo credit: Anton Prado PHOTO/Shutterstock

Keywords: New York, Police, Crime

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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