The Great Manipulation

More on “jukin’ the stats.

I first talked about this problem on this blog on May 24, 2012. And it’s a significant part of my new book, Arrested Development. It’s not only HOW police measure, but that while doing so they are HONEST.

Now there are some new developments reported by the New York Times last month

Read the following article:

 

Study Finds Crime Report Manipulation is
Common Among New York Police
By Wendy Ruderman, June 28, 2012

“An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers found that the manipulation of crime reports — downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look better — has long been part of the culture of the New York Police Department.

“The results showed that pressure on officers to artificially reduce crime rates, while simultaneously increasing summonses and the number of people stopped and often frisked on the street, has intensified in the last decade, the two criminologists who conducted the research said in interviews this week.

“’I think our survey clearly debunks the Police Department’s rotten-apple theory,’ said Eli B. Silverman, one of the criminologists, referring to arguments that very few officers manipulated crime statistics. ‘This really demonstrates a rotten barrel.’

“Dr. Silverman, professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and John A. Eterno, a retired New York police captain, provided The New York Times with a nine-page summary of the survey’s preliminary results. After reviewing a copy of the summary, the Police Department impugned the findings on Wednesday. Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, criticized the researchers’ methodology and questioned the reliability of the findings.

“’The latest report from Eterno and Silverman appears designed to bolster the authors’ repeated but unsupported claims,” Mr. Browne said. “The document provides no explanation of how the survey sample was constructed.’

“Dr. Eterno and Dr. Silverman have previously argued that the Police Department’s longstanding focus on reducing major felony crimes has given rise to ‘a numbers game.’

“Their survey is likely to rekindle the debate, which flared up earlier this year after The Village Voice detailed the case of Adrian Schoolcraft, an officer in the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn who secretly gathered evidence, including audio recordings, of crime-report manipulation. Shortly after Mr. Schoolcraft presented the evidence to police investigators, his superiors had him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, saying he was in the midst of a psychiatric emergency.

“The survey, conducted earlier this year, was financed by Molloy College. Dr. Eterno and Dr. Silverman e-mailed a questionnaire to 4,069 former officers who had retired since 1941. Roughly 48 percent — 1,962 retired officers of all ranks — responded…”

AND SO IT GOES… The stats get juked to make the bosses look good!

Who suffers? Citizens who are deceived and police officers who are forced to go along with what they know is wrong.

To read the entire article click here.

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About improvingpolice

I served over 20 years as the chief of police in Madison (WI), four years as chief of the Burnsville (MN) Police Department, and before that as a police officer in Edina (MN) and the City of Minneapolis. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Edgewood College in Madison. I have written many articles over my years as a police leader calling for police improvement (for example, How To Rate Your Local Police, and with my wife, Sabine, Quality Policing: The Madison Experience). After retiring from the police department, I answered a call to ministry, attended seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. At the present time, I serve a small church in North Lake (WI), east of Madison. Sabine and I have nine adult children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is also a retired police officer and we both continue active lives.

4 Responses to “The Great Manipulation”

  1. 2 Things. First, as a fellow blogger I would suggest that you put a “contact us by e-mail” widget up on your site.

    2nd, I manage a blog called DeafInPrison.com. In one of the interviews I did, I was told that the Deaf can’t get fair treatment at arrest sites, due to the lack of interpreters. I’m further told that the logistics of bringing an interpreter to every arrest or police confrontation are impossible – and I completely understand this. However, this is the Internet age, and every cruiser in this country has a wireless laptop on board. It would be astoundingly simple for these laptops to be set up to access the many video interpreter services that exist. Just a suggestion.

    Please feel free to come visit DeafInPrison.com and share your perspective. I did not include a link, so as to avoid the appearance of spam, but if you type our name into WordPress or Google, we pop right up.

    Thank you for your time and expertise,

    BitcoDavid

  2. watch the HBO series the WIRE very true. But this is not done at the Officer level generally it is done at the command level. As far as Stop and Frisk is concerned well sorry to say that is generally what good police work it. I find reasonable suspicsion to stop you, I investigate I either let you go or I arrest/Cite you…thats POLICE work…

    • And that’s also one opinion. For an earlier glimpse of rank and file policing in the media (and also by David Simon) see the “Homicide” series. I think it is one of the best.

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