Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Get a 25% discount on our book The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation

Recent editorial Policing by the Numbers in The New York Times



Principal Investigator: John A. Eterno, Ph.D. Molloy College
Investigator: Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D. John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Released: June 14, 2012


     Principal Investigator John A. Eterno, Ph.D. in conjunction with Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D. recently conducted an extensive survey of NYPD retirees of all ranks. The results of this new study not only completely confirm the findings of their first survey of captains and above reported in February 2010 in the New York Times (conducted in September 2008), but also provide more in depth insights into the NYPD’s performance management system (known as Compstat) which has been emulated throughout the world. These new findings clearly debunk the NYPD’s rotten apple theory of isolated crime manipulation. Instead, this survey demonstrates that the manipulation of crime reports is widespread and systemic. Furthermore the bulk of this manipulation has occurred in more recent years - from 2002 onward.
     Using innovative internet based techniques, the investigators were able to conduct the survey in March 2012 and produce preliminary results in a timely manner. The instrument was sent via e-mail to 4,069 retirees with 1,962 responses. This indicates a return rate of 48.2% considered very good for an e-mail survey of retired government employees. The large sample size adds assurance that the findings accurately reflect the experiences of retired officers. The range of respondents’ date of retirement is from 1941 to 2012. This wide range allows comparisons over three key periods: pre-Compstat, before 1995 (562 respondents); early Compstat 1995-2001 (382 respondents); the Kelly/Bloomberg era 2002-2012 (871 respondents); and the remainder not giving a retirement year.
     The characteristics of survey respondents closely mirror those of NYPD retirees. This survey includes all ranks: 10 chiefs, 36 inspectors, 63 captains, 262 lieutenants, 382 sergeants, 1,154 police officers/detectives, 3 other (52 did not indicate their rank). The number of retirees in each rank comports well with known rank distributions of the NYPD. That is, police officers/detectives are the largest group with descending counts as one goes up the ranks. Thus, as expected, there are fewer sergeants compared to police officers/detectives and so forth. Education level is also as expected: 8 percent with a high school only education (NYPD now has a 2 year education/military requirement to join), 44 percent with some college, 30 percent with a college degree, 7 percent with some graduate education, and 11 percent with an advanced degree.


     Crime statistics: Results indicate that the majority of retirees (60%) lacked confidence in the accuracy of official NYPD index crime statistics which proclaim a huge decrease of about 80 percent since 1990. Most of these respondents (89.2%) felt that crime did decrease but not to the extent claimed by NYPD management. Of those who indicated crime declined but not as precipitously as NYPD suggests, on average, felt it was about one-half of what NYPD claims. Specifically, on average, these officers felt that crime actually went down 42% in New York City. Interestingly, this comports almost exactly with the nationwide drop in crime during the same period.
     Pressure from management/supervisors: Officers were also asked to gauge the levels of pressure they felt from management/supervisors. They were asked to base their answers on their personal experiences/knowledge. With respect to pressure to increase summonses, increase stop and frisk, increase arrests, decrease index crime, and downgrade index to non-index crime, there is a clear pattern that completely corresponds with our previous research. Namely pressures were greatest for every variable for officers who worked during the Compstat era. Thus, results indicate that pressures significantly increased from 1995 to 2001 (the Giuliani years). In this study we were able to parse out the effect of those who worked 2002 and onward. Importantly, we also find that the pressure markedly increases from 2002 onward to much higher levels. Thus there is increasing pressure in the Compstat era and then significantly added pressure in the current era. This is clearly demonstrable throughout the data.
     We also note that the pattern is similar when it comes to protecting Constitutional rights and ensuring crime statistics are accurate. For these variables, however, we see the least pressure to obey the law and accurately report statistics in the current era (the Bloomberg/Kelly years). We do note that initially during Compstat’s first years, these percentages were favorable. This precisely substantiates our long standing position - that Compstat was initially a positive development but morphed into a “numbers game.” Every indicator supports our basic theme.
     Importantly, we observe that the increase in stop and frisks is particularly strong ranging from about 9 percent before Compstat to over 35 percent feeling high pressures in the current Kelly/Bloomberg era. Additionally, we note that downgrading is itself suspect activity. While there was a modest increase at the beginning of Compstat, it appears that the bulk of downgrading pressures are more current. The large percentage indicating high pressure to downgrade has grown astoundingly to nearly 40% in the current era. This is a major concern. Combined with these facts are the weakest pressures to accurately report crime statistics and obey legal restrictions in the current era. We now specifically examine crime report manipulation.


     Crime Report Manipulation: We also asked officers a variety of questions about whether they had personal knowledge of crime report manipulation. Again, a clear pattern emerged with the most recent era (2002 and onward) showing the highest personal knowledge by officers of such manipulation - by far. Approximately 50 percent of officers who retired in 2002 and after had personal knowledge of crime report manipulation. Also note the very high percentages of respondents who worked after 2002 indicating they had personal knowledge of 3 or more such incidents. This is clear evidence that this is systemic throughout the NYPD.


     A few examples of open-ended responses:
  1. As a [supervisor] and an attorney with 30 years experience I was ordered not to review complaints because I often raised the charges and refused to lower crime classifications. False reporting is endemic in the police department. 
  2. Assault becomes harassment, robbery becomes grand larceny, grand larceny becomes petit larceny, burglary becomes criminal trespass. All with editing/creative writing on complaint reports by supervisors after submission. 
  3. The heightened emphasis by COs on "crime reduction" (or under-reporting) occurred mainly due to the implementation of COMPSTAT meetings, whereby Pct Cos were belittled, humiliated, ambushed and confronted with crime patterns of which they were unaware, and embarrassed in front of (and by) the brass ... After one beating, you'd have to be a consummate idiot to report higher crime stats the next time. 
  4. Pressure to lower crime stats came from 1 PP. Dramatic lows were unattainable year to year yet Commanding Officers had to withstand "public flogging" and embarrassment at Compstat meetings. Those meetings were the driving force to keep numbers low… 
  5. Years ago, the 61's were done by the police officer on the street and turned into the 124 room for entry into the system, they were only looked at for errors and omissions. Now before they are turned in they are looked at to see how the crime can be downgraded, and as such sometimes the report that is entered into the system is not what the street Officer had written and it is changed without knowledge or consent of the officer. Many times the 61 was totally re-written and the officers name and signature were photocopied on to a new report and a copy of the whole report was filed and the original was never to be seen again. the statistics game has changed the way we do policing but not for the good, and the average person that wants to make a legitimate complaint is totally discouraged and a report will be taken to placate them only till they leave and another report will done downgrading the original report to a lesser crime thus making it seem like things are better, when in reality it is just the opposite.
  6. Heard Deputy Commissioner XXXXX say in a pre Compstat meeting that a CO should just consolidate burglaries that occurred in an apartment building and count as one. Also not to count leap year stats. Make reporting a crime difficult to discourage the victims from following through such as asking for receipts and making the person appear in person at the SH [station house]. Discouraging Schools from reporting thefts or if they did consolidate thefts into one felony report or separate into multiple misd [misdemeanor] reports. Shred reports for those with no insurance etc. Inventory shrinkage from retail stores would be classified at the wholesale value of item rather than retail value to downgrade to misd [misdemeanor]. Reckless Endangerment used instead of attempted assault especially in shoot and miss situations.
Survey Wording Issue
     Our initial 2008 survey triggered a barrage of spin from the NYPD and its allies. They claimed that: 1. the study was funded by the Captain’s Endowment Association (CEA); 2. the study did not ask about personal experiences; 3. the study did not ask for counts of incidents. On the first issue, the NYPD spin was simply wrong. The CEA did not pay for the study; rather a grant from Molloy College did - the CEA only gave us access to their retired members. Their claim has no merit whatsoever. The second two issues had little possibility of accuracy for numerous reasons outlined in our book and articles; however, it was remotely conceivable. So in response to the NYPD’s non-scientific critical comments (as evidenced by two accepted peer reviewed studies and an academic book published by the authors on their previous study), the authors incorporated the following wording into the most controversial questions: “Based on your experience, do you have any personal knowledge of...” This 2012 study shows clear evidence that our 2008 interpretations are absolutely accurate exposing the NYPD’s position as misguided, at best.

     Frank Serpico in testifying before the Knapp Commission stated, “The department must realize that an effective, continuing relationship between the police and the public is more important than an impressive arrest record. The system of rewards within the Police Department should be based on a policeman’s overall performance with the public rather than on his ability to meet arrest quotas. And merely uncovering widespread patterns of corruption will not resolve that problem. Basic changes in attitude and approach are vital. In order to insure this, an independent permanent investigative body dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential.”

His words are prophetic and, unfortunately, still ring true today. This study and what is now overwhelming evidence from numerous sources (including whistleblowers with recorded evidence to support them) as well as NYPD’s impotent response (a 3 person panel that has yet to report its findings long overdue and meaningless without subpoena power, immunity, and independence from the NYPD; and, a few lower level scapegoats punished) is a clear demonstration of the need for as Frank Serpico states “an independent permanent investigative body dealing with police corruption.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Get a 25% discount on our book The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation. Click here.

The article below was recently published in the Village Voice. Click here to see the Voice version.

NYPD Crime Stats Manipulation Widespread, Must Be Investigated, Criminologists Say

Two criminologists offer their take on this week's Voice cover story about the secret NYPD investigation which confirmed allegations by Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of downgrading of crime reports in the 81st Precinct.

By John A. Eterno and Eli B. Silverman

Vindication! The newly exposed New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Quality Assurance Division Report indicating nearly all of our allegations are correct has been around since June 2010. Attacks against our research went on well into 2011 and continue until this day. How in good conscience NYPD could continue to attack Adrian Schoolcraft and our research is beyond shame; it is revolting.

Without question Graham Rayman's explosive exposé of the NYPD's internal Quality Assurance Division Report on downgrading crime is a rarity. It represents the city's investigative reporting at its best. Our book The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation unveils the mainstream media's sustained failure to pursue the NYPD's proclivity to manipulate crime reports to make them appear favorable.

Mr. Rayman and a previous Voice reporter, Paul Moses, are two critically important exceptions to the media's meekness in exploring the NYPD's statistical legerdemain. Moses exposed a skyrocketing rise in lost property complaints - a key indicator that fudging reports was taking place. Other media outlets would profit from this type of superb investigative reporting.

Without the Voice's exposé, the NYPD's internal report would likely never have seen the light of day. The Quality Assurance Division's two year investigation states the truth: The 81 precinct systematically fostered a culture finely attuned to the downgrading of crime. One might expect that based on this newly exposed report and mountains of other evidence, that the NYPD would now take seriously what we as social scientists have been saying for years - this is a problem throughout the NYPD and must be investigated in full. Unfortunately, given reaction to previous revelations, we are not hopeful.

What mountains of evidence are we referencing? Let's start with the NYPD's own officers and sergeants informing them for years that these behaviors were occurring throughout the city. Both the PBA and the SBA (the department's police officer's and sergeant's unions) have had press conferences indicating this truth. Response by NYPD- --to denigrate these accounts and those who reported them.

Our scientific study now published in the aforementioned book and in two scientific peer
reviewed journals used both quantitative and qualitative data strongly buttressing the hypothesis that this is a citywide problem. Our quantitative study is based on a survey of hundreds of retirees in the ranks of captain and above. Using those who worked before the NYPD's performance management system (Compstat) was in place as a baseline; we compared responses of manager's perceptions about pressures from the upper echelon of the NYPD before and after the Compstat system was put in place.

We were stunned by the responses we received. Based on their personal experiences we found enormous pressures to decrease the numbers of index crimes (those reported to the FBI) and to downgrade index crimes into other non reported categories. Additionally, the perception of the demand for integrity in the crime reports was much less in the current era. Approximately 75 percent of our respondents who were aware of crime report manipulation indicated that the manipulation they experienced was unethical. We also collected qualitative data in the form of in-depth interviews with
over 30 retired and some active officers of all ranks. They confirmed nearly every aspect of the previous results and then some. Importantly, they indicated that these practices are taking place citywide due to the pressures of Compstat. Current working personnel have confirmed that these practices are alive and well in today's NYPD.

Beyond this, crime victims have come forward. One was a victim of identity theft. When
he went to the police to report the crime the victim was merely given a letter and told to leave the precinct. The letter, on NYPD stationary and reprinted in our book, states the NYPD "requires specific documentation be submitted before a police report for identity theft or fraud related crimes can be taken."

The letter informs the victim that such documentation includes a letter from the company with their letterhead giving specific information about you, who opened the account, and where merchandise was sent; a company affidavit that is notarized indicating the complainant has no prior knowledge or involvement among other items, copies of your credit report from three separate reporting bureaus; and other assorted documentation.

Surely the police can do better than hand victims of crimes letters ordering them to prove they are victims before taking reports. Such behavior is unconscionable. Unfortunately, our research indicates that the situation is even worse.

Attempted rape victim Debbie Nathan communicated with us soon after our report went public. She too indicated her horrid experiences in trying to report a sex crime to the NYPD. There are others as well. Graham Rayman revealed a detective's experience with a rape perpetrator. The detective apprehended a rapist who confessed to many other rapes. When the detective examined the complaint file to close out the cases, he found that all the previous rapes were listed as minor crimes, mostly criminal trespass. After being sued, the NYPD tardily released data on criminal trespasses. Low and behold, they are skyrocketing citywide.

There is much more. Hospital data is at complete variance with NYPD reports. Importantly, for example, firearms assaults at emergency rooms are dramatically increasing while the NYPD claims assaults are down tremendously. The City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows drug use in the city increasing (as does hospital data) but NYPD complaint data are all down for use of drugs. All this does not include the data manipulation to which the NYPD has admitted..

Four precinct commanders and others have been disciplined in the past. All of this took place while the Compstat performance management system has been in place. There are also well-documented cases of crime report manipulation in other places that essentially copied the NYPD performance management system.

Other cities in the United States such as New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia have admitted problems. Other countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, and France have admitted problems as well. Certainly, the track record of the NYPD system is problematic.

There are also the audiotapes in the 81 precinct in Brooklyn and the 41 in the Bronx. Now the allegations in the 81 precinct are confirmed by this NYPD report. This report unearthed by Mr. Rayman and not shared with the public is in stark contrast to the public images NYPD presents: constant denials and attacks of those who question them. Why must investigative reporters have to get these reports? The public is entitled to this.

The NYPD has a problem with its culture. The NYPD must be investigated immediately.
How much evidence is needed? How many victims will go unheard? Do the words "transparency" and "community partnerships" mean anything? Apparently, the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg are in complete denial. The NYPD needs a complete overhaul. Investigating Muslims with no suspicion, going to other states and counties with little or no permission, nearly 700,000 forcible stops of criminal suspects last year while at the same time claiming crime is at an all time low, summonses and arrest quotas, pressures on commanders for numbers, and much more. The evidence of a problem with NYPD
culture is obvious to any person who looks at the mountains of evidence. A neutral outside investigative body with subpoena power and the ability to grant immunity is needed. Let's stop the charade and get it done.

Eterno is a professor at Molloy College. Silverman is professor emeritus at John Jay College.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Our new book entitled The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation is now available from CRC press. You can go to our web site for a discounted copy. You can also see us discuss the book on CUNY CityTalk. Feel free to contact us at any time and

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Immunity Granted, Immunity Denied

Our book The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation is available for preorder

New York Times article about NYPD not taking crime reports supports our research

Our most recent publication in The Village Voice "NYPD's Crime Stat Manipulation A Factor in Recent Corruption Scandals"

New York Times Stop and Frisk article

Immunity Granted, Immunity Denied

By Eli B. Silverman and John A. Eterno

The decision of the Bronx District Attorney to grant immunity to a PBA official in exchange for his testimony regarding allegations of NYPD ticket fixing, while laudable, highlights a key weakness in a far more significant, yet more subdued inquiry.

The muted inquiry was first announced in January when the Police Commissioner announced the appointment of a three person committee of former federal prosecutors to look into the NYPD’s crime reporting system. Link to NY Times article

This belated appointment followed years of documented reports and allegations of manipulation of crime statistics. These charges can be, of course, far more consequential than reports of ticket fixing. The manipulation of crime reports by the NYPD likely involves nearly every precinct. It involves countless victims being victimized again as police fail to properly report allegations; crimes that could have been prevented continue; detectives denied accurate information, intelligence lost as crime reports are altered. The evidence of tampering with reports is overwhelming – both the PBA and SBA coming forward and advising of the practice; our peer reviewed research; victims and groups representing victims of sex crimes sending up alarms; a retired detective’s warning; criminal trespass complaints mounting, summonses and stop and frisk reports skyrocketing in a supposed time of little crime; audiotapes of NYPD officers by whistleblowers clearly showing the practice; hospital data for firearms injuries showing ever increasing numbers, and much more.

Yet, surprise of all surprises, this new Commissioner-appointed crime reporting committee was not bestowed with any authority to grant immunity to any NYPD personnel for their testimony. As seen in the ticket fixing scandal, this is a key weapon in fighting such abuse of authority by police. Absent such authority, the chances of obtaining straight forward police testimony ranks between zero and nil. The blue wall of silence can be impenetrable unless inquiries are given appropriate power. Should not this committee (which the commissioner said was to report within 3 to 6 months) be outfitted with the necessary tools?
This convenient slight of hand relegates significant reform to the trash bin of past headlines.

Eli B, Silverman, is Professor Emeritus, John Jay College and author, NYPD Battles Crime.
John A. Eterno is Associate Dean of Criminal Justice, Molloy College and a retired NYPD Captain.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Scandal behind the Scandal

By John A. Eterno and Eli B. Silverman

Recent revelations of ticket fixing are less than meets the eye. They are symptomatic of the findings of our long standing publicized and published research.

According to the unions, ticket fixing is a fairly common practice. Recent news accounts confirm that 400 or more officers are involved. While, we have no reason to disbelieve this, our findings demonstrate that fixing complaint reports in order to manipulate crime statistics was just as common, if not more common, than ticket fixing. This occurs for numerous reasons.

First, the upper echelon has consistently pressured officers for numbers indicating drops in serious crime, more summonses, a greater amount of stop and frisk reports, downgrading crime to less serious offenses. The unions are on the record and this is confirmed by tape recordings revealing enormous pressures on officers which may amount to illegal quotas. Such pressures emanate from Compstat. Whether one likes it or not such numbers are ruling NYPD. This forces lower level officers to write summonses, sometimes even when it may conflict with the mission of the department. This is one of the reasons why the department has someone to “void” summonses at the Chief of Department’s office. Such an informal ticket fixing scandal spirals out of control when numbers rule the day. As our research has indicated, informal norms develop in response to iron control by the upper echelon. This is a well known to social scientists.

Second, such practices, including ticket fixing, and manipulating crime complaint reports, involve much more than lower ranking officers. Pressures to make the numbers look good emanate from Headquarters. Yet it seems the NYPD is happy to send the lower ranks -- officers and sergeants -- to the trial room and to court. However, everyone needs to be held accountable. The fact that this ticket fixing scandal was unearthed by happenstance -- Internal Affairs looking for drug dealing --should raise red flags. The much prized NYPD oversight agencies-- Quality assurance, Data Integrity, Integrity Control Officers were AWOL on this issue. Why did the officers feel so free to violate ethical and legal guidelines? As our survey showed, integrity in statistics is not something commanders in the Compstat era are as concerned with. They are more concerned with making the numbers “look right for Compstat.”

The New York Times reports that the NYPD installed an electronic ticket scanning system last summer to prevent these ticket fixing practices from occurring in the future. The Times states “It is unclear why the department did not put it to use sooner.” ( The fact that this is unclear to seasoned reporters and observers of the NYPD is the real scandal behind the NYPD ticket fixing scandal. A monitoring system requires energy, commitment, constant attention and transparency. These qualities are low on the NYPD priority list. If they were higher, the widespread manipulation of crime statistics would have been uncovered and revealed by the NYPD itself.

Third, quality in policing is much more than a numbers game. It is time to hold the upper echelon accountable. If they were not aware, quite frankly, they should have been – especially after our research, several whistleblowers, tape recordings, victims of crimes coming forward, and other evidence has mounted. Prosecution of lower ranks is shameful. Those in higher positions need to be leaders and take responsibility. It starts by recognizing you have a problem. NYPD, you have a problem. Paraphrasing the Knapp Commission, there are meat eaters and grass eaters. While the grass eaters essentially just look the other way, they are the root of the problem. The culture needs to change.
These practices have become part of the NYPD culture. The NYPD needs to be transparent. Lacking transparency other scandals will inevitably emerge.

John A. Eterno, Ph.D. is associate dean of criminal justice at Molloy College. Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D. is professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Related Articles
Village Voice article

Monday, December 6, 2010



Our Janury 24th Op Ed in Daily News

New York Crime Statistics Published in New York Times December 3, 2010

To the Editor:

As the authors of the academic survey referred to in “As Police Point to a Dip in Crime, Murders and Robberies Are Up” (news article, Nov. 26), we applaud the article’s attempt to bring crime statistics to the forefront. Our published peer-reviewed journal articles clearly demonstrate the manipulation of crime statistics by New York Police Department.

Audiotapes made by Police Department officers document police instructions to downgrade major crimes to the lesser charge of misdemeanor crimes (which are not part of the public crime count), for the purpose of lowering official crime statistics.

According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York City’s misdemeanor crimes skyrocketed from 1996 to 2001 — further evidence of pushing major crimes into the misdemeanor crime category. This revelation confirms our research as well as the Police Department’s failure to report these misdemeanor crimes since 2002, the first year of Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s return to office.

On top of this, hospital admissions data for assaults show a trend completely at variance with the Police Department’s public data. They indicate that firearms assaults more than doubled from 1999 to 2005.

Your article says, “Without a substantial decrease in grand larcenies this year, however, the city would show an increase in overall crime.” Since grand larcenies are among the easiest crimes to downgrade to a misdemeanor, this suggests further confirmation of manipulation by the Police Department.

One way to conclusively resolve this issue is for the Police Department to allow scrutiny from outside agencies. The time is ripe for Police Department transparency.

John A. Eterno
Eli B. Silverman
Rockville Centre, N.Y., Nov. 26, 2010


Jim Hoffer ABC News Investigations

Baker and Rashbaum of New York Times

Another News Report

Graham Rayman Village Voice

Colleen Long Associated Press

Links to Recent Confirmation of Our Findings and Media Appearances

Graham Rayman article with comments by us on release of data by NYPD

Paul Moses on abrupt change and release of data by NYPD

Eli Silverman on WBAI, Monday, December 20, 2010

Eli B. Silverman and Graham Rayman on CityTalk (CUNY TV)

The Numbers Game in the The Uptowner

Further confirmation of our findings

Lack of Transparency Continues

City Violent Crime Spikes in The Wall Street Journal

Lenny Levitt's most recent column

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Truth versus Spin

Truth versus Spin: An Op-Ed on the NYPD's Crime Statistics From Two Criminologists

The NYPD, its acolytes, and assorted politicians' 15 year unyielding boasting and bellowing of the City's "miraculous crime drop" has constantly filled the air waves and newspaper print. However, since January of this year we notice reports of increases in violent crimes. The concurrent 'sounds of silence' are even more amazing than the previous bragging. Virtually every category of violent index crime is on the rise.

Murders, robberies, rapes, and felony assaults are all up. Eventually, we do expect the usual spin. The NYPD explanation will likely be something like 'crime is still down from years ago, we are still doing a wonderful job.' While these tales are to be expected from the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and his spin doctors, the truth sadly may be far more disturbing.

The ominous side is that in order to silence dissenters and deny any problems, the NYPD continues to close its doors to any non-sponsored outside scrutiny. Yet the evidence of data manipulation is, at this point, overwhelming.

Our study showed that over half of commanders aware of any manipulation felt the manipulation of the reports was unethical; 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. This study was released in early February 2010.

The NYPD and its allies' reactions were predictable. We were roundly attacked in the media (with the exception of the Village Voice and a few other outlets). Numerous editorials and the like tried to paint our study as "flawed". Since then, our study was published in a well respected scientific peer reviewed journal (International Journal of Police Science and Management). This stands in stark contrast to the non-peered reviewed writings that the NYPD relies on to support its claims of purity and integrity.

Furthermore, the subsequent evidence supporting our findings has been nothing short of overwhelming. Graham Rayman's expose on the NYPD Tapes was particularly revealing and supportive of almost every aspect of our initial study.

Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of the 81 Precinct secretly recorded roll calls in which, for example, one can clearly hear supervisors saying not to take crime reports for robbery if victims are not willing to go to the station house.

Such statements indicating crime manipulation were commonplace on these tapes. Further evidence unearthed by Rayman included an attempted rape victim's report being classified as "forcible touching," Detective First Grade Harold Hernandez of NYPD capturing a serial rapist and finding previous reports were not listed as rape but as criminal trespass and the like.

Yet another tape has surfaced from another precinct showing similar manipulation (see ABC News Investigations. ABC also had another officer come forward with even more allegations of crime manipulation.

Our recent research examined hospital assault data showing that emergency room visits for assault have steadily increased since 1999 (including firearms and cutting instrument assaults).

We also have examined non-index crime steadily increasing until 2001 with a slight drop in 2002 (the last year the NYPD reported its non-index crimes. The fact that the NYPD abruptly ceased to provide non index crimes is emblematic of its relentless resistance to transparency).

Our study reported that commanders' perceptions were that NYPD brass really did not care as much about crime data integrity during the Compstat era compared to the previous era. Shortly after our study was reported in February, the Captain's Endowment Association president wrote to its members: "There is inordinate media interest surrounding the Compstat process. If you are discovered to have intentionally misclassified a crime report you will be made an example of. This type of misconduct will cause permanent damage, and potentially the end of your career. Suffering through a 'bad Compstat' is a much more desirable fate." Roy T. Richter, President, CEA Newsletter Volume III, Issue 2 March 2010. P. 3.

Recent media attention combined with several lawsuits (i.e., Schoolcraft, Center for Constitutional Rights), however, may have also propped up a belated NYPD push for accuracy.

While undoubtedly the spin doctors will play their games, our take is that our research and the media attention surrounding it are hopefully making a difference. That difference is good for crime victims, crime analysts, and police officers in the field, detectives, and the entire NYPD.

Let the detectives investigate, the officers on the street take reports, let those on the front lines help victims and not turn them away (e.g. robbery, rape, victims), let the cops do their job, and, most importantly, if NYPD is so confident in its accuracy, open the books and let outsiders investigate - transparency is what democracy is all about. Those who balk are devoted to deception and cover up.

John A. Eterno, Ph.D. is Associate Dean and Director Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice at Molloy College in Rockville Center, New York. He is a retired NYPD Captain and the author of Policing within the Law and co-author of Police Practices in Global Perspective.

Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a well-known expert on CompStat and the author of NYPD Battles Crime.

This article appears in its entirety in the Village Voice.

Our second peer reviewed article


New York Times Confirms NYPD Lack of Transparency

Murray Weiss speaks out in support of our theme

NYPD's Oil Spill

Eterno/Silverman discuss findings with ABC news.

Schoolcraft story on This American Life

Levitt on Schoolcraft

Questions about Assault Statistics appears in New York Times

Schoolcraft on ABC News

Possible Chicago Crime Manipulation

Further Support

More Revelations

Len Levitt Responds to Daily News Editorial

Cover Up of Statistics

Charge of NYPD Commander for Fudging Stats

Article on Data Manipulation New York and Elsewhere

Officers accused of data manipulation

AP story on Schoolcraft

Cops and Al Baker discuss manipulation of stats