After many reports of crime stat manipulation by the NYPD, critics have been loudly calling for independent audits of the city's COMPSTAT system. And while Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has reluctantly formed his own three-person committee to investigate, many critics are unsatisfied with the half-measures. And two of the biggest critics are writing their own book about it.
Those two critics, Prof. John Eterno and Prof. Eli Silverman, already performed their own FBI-sponsored survey of the NYPD earlier this year; that study found that more than half the 300 precinct commanders interviewed admitted to being aware of instances of “ethically inappropriate” changes to crime complaints. Those reports will form part of the basis of their forthcoming book, "Unveiling Compstat: The Global Policing Revolution's Naked Truths." They've theorized that many officers may have purposefully misclassified grand larcenies into non-criminal lost property complaints. But the statistics reviewed by the WSJ (paywall) don't match up with that theory: they found that lost property reports dropped to 75,258 in 2010 from 124,203 in 2005, a 39 percent reduction; and grand larcenies fell by about 20 percent in that time period. The two criminologists accuse the lost property numbers of being "vetted" and "cleaned," while NYPD spokesman Paul Browne scoffs at their claims: "There's no reasoning with some chronic critics. I expect next they'll say, 'Aha, the department hasn't disclosed the number of oil changes for police cars.'"