If it's fall, it's time to look at whether the NYPD really does downgrade crimes to make crime statistics look better. Today, the NY Times reports, "In a review of more than 100 police reports from the last four months that were provided to The New York Times, there were a number of instances in which the police report seemed to portray a less serious account of a crime than the district attorney, or a victim, provided subsequently." Like two women who were hit by a stray bullet (a nurse said one had a "graze wound") but "the New York Police Department concluded that both women had merely received scrapes while fleeing the shooting, and did not count them as crime victims."
In June, a study of almost 2,000 police officers found that cops do in fact engage in crime stat manipulation. One respondent said, "Assault becomes harassment, robbery becomes grand larceny, grand larceny becomes petit larceny, burglary becomes criminal trespass." Another high-ranking cop has insisted it happens also. Why? Because cops are under pressure to make sure the crime stats make Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly look good.
According to the Times, "Police officers said that it was common for supervisors, who typically show up at the more serious crime scenes after 911 calls reporting felonies, to dictate to police officers how to classify a crime." Like how, in 2010, the victim of a sexual assault in Inwood Park was initially told the incident was just "forcible touching" when it was actually felony sexual assault.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the Times it was unusual for crimes to be upgraded but they might be based on "more information is obtained in an investigation, or conditions change — such as when a victim dies — or in some instances, as a result of being corrected."