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NYPD Audit Finds Thousands of Crimes Were Downgraded

By Ben Fractenberg on July 3, 2013 2:25pm 

 Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks at police headquarters about an independent review into the how the NYPD audits its crime statistics, July 2, 2013.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks at police headquarters about an independent review into the how the NYPD audits its crime statistics, July 2, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

DOWNTOWN — An independent investigation into how the NYPD audits its crime statistics found that several major crime categories were underreported in 2009 and 2010.

The categories — including robbery, felony assault and grand larceny — included thousands of crimes that were misclassified during that period, the 60-page report found.

There should have been, for example, an estimated additional 619 felony assaults reported (out of more than 16,000) in 2009 and 782 reported in 2010, according to the report.

The results of the review came in the wake of an investigation that found that the 112th Precinct, in Forest Hills, Queens, wrongly classified dozens of felonies as misdemeanors.

The citywide review broke down how several incidents were misclassified.

"Between 2009 and 2010, robberies were reported to have increased by 4.8%, felony assault increased by 1.1%, burglary decreased by 4.3% and grand larceny decreased by 3.6%," the report read. "Using the extrapolated figures, robberies would have shown a 5.4% increase, felony assaults a 2% increase, burglary a 4% decrease, and grand larceny a 2.9% decrease."

The reported cited "substantiated misconduct" in the 81st Precinct where supervisors allegedly pressured officers to downgrade crimes by not making certain reports or pressuring victims not to report crimes.

"No system is flawless or immune to weaknesses," Kelly said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly lauded the report during a Tuesday press conference and said the department would adopt recommendations made by the committee to improve their internal auditing process.

"[I was] very impressed by the thought and care they had obviously given to finding ways to improve upon what we do," Kelly said.

The police commissioner added that on top of reviewing "thousands of pages related reports and data," the group had met with "key department officials, with academics, with independent experts, district attorneys, staff and heard members of the public."

Kelly appointed the committee more than two years ago to review the departments crime statistics reporting process, commonly referred to as "CompStat," from NYPD audits conducted from 2009 through 2011.

The committee, which was made up of former federal prosecutors David Kelley, Sharon McCarthy and Robert Morvillo, who passed away in 2011, found the NYPD's auditing program to be "robust" and "professional."

"We identified a number of areas in our report in which the NYPD could improve its audit program to better control for the risk of error or manipulation," said Kelley during the Tuesday press conference.

Recommendations made by the committee included implementing a "standard of review" for evaluating complaint reports, better documentation through maintaining complete sets of reviewed "complaint reports in high-risk classifications" and improving post-audit reports to improve accountability for "egregious" errors.

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