Earlier this week, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner touted near-record low crime numbers in New York City, claiming a 1.2% drop in overall crime between 2010 and 2011. But there have been overall concerns about whether the NYPD has been manipulating crime stats. While the Police Department says it's looking into the matter, there are still some victims who say the practice continues.
The NY Times examines this troubling phenomenon, "The reasons for not taking a report, police officials said, can vary. Some officers seek to avoid the dull task of preparing reports; others may fear discipline for errors in paperwork"—like undervaluing an iPad?— "Sometimes officers run out of time because they are directed to another job." And the Times chats with a victim of the Queens bicycle-riding groper. Jill Korber, who was groped two days in a row, went to a police station and spoke to a cop, "He told me it would be a waste of time, because I didn’t know who the guy was or where he worked or anything. His words to me were, ‘These things happen.’ He said those words."
And then there's this:
On the Upper West Side in July, a man in red shorts climbed through a window into the living room where Katherine Davis, 65, was reading the paper. She ran, a few steps ahead of him, and locked herself in an adjacent apartment, where she watched through the peephole as the man searched for her before he left.
Officers drove her around to look for the intruder, unsuccessfully. Ms. Davis asked if they could take fingerprints. But the officers said, “Oh, no, that’s only if you have a detective, or investigation,” she recalled. She asked for a case number.
“They said, ‘There is no case number,’ ” she said.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says that precincts are supposed to audit its reports vs. radio dispatches and the department audits precincts to make sure crimes are classified properly, "Alleged failures to take a report of a crime are investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau and, if corroborated, the officer is subject to disciplinary action."
Intriguingly, the NYPD made a change in 2009 where robbery victims would have to report the crime by going to the station, ostensibly so an investigator could get to the scene faster but the change had its benefits: A commander said, "A police report wouldn’t get made because they make you wait in the police station for hours," and the victim would usually leave in frustration. Now, the policy has been reverted so uniformed cops can take the initial report.