New York

Tatjana Sevilla’s Trouble with a Detective’s Report Suggests Crime Stats Remain a Live Issue


One recent trend we’ve noticed in local papers is a more challenging attitude toward city crime stats. There’ve been several stories about a report by some ex-cops suggesting that local police are pressured to “distort crime statistics” to make things look better than they are.

And these reports appear not just in the Times or the Voice, where you might expect them (the Voice got on the topic years ago; see here, here, and here), but in the traditionally less-curious tabloids, too.

So now we’ll probably see more stories about people like Tatjana Sevilla, who got her jaw broken, and Detective Rene Narvaez, who allegedly wouldn’t write it up appropriately.

The 22-year-old Sevilla tells the Daily News she got jumped in an attempted armed robbery at the door of her Bronx home on January 15. The perp broke her jaw and brandished a gun.

Detective Narvaez at first classified the crime — in which Sevilla and her mother say Narvaez “wasn’t really interested” when they reported it — as a misdemeanor assault. The women came back to her with surveillance footage of the attack (!) from a neighbor’s camera, showing the perp was armed; Narvaez, they say, wouldn’t look at it.

Narvaez disputes this, but after the News started nosing around, the charge was bumped up to felony assault, and Narvaez, who has 18 years on the force, is being investigated.

The fudged-stats issue is mentioned prominently in the story.

It’s interesting to read the response at Thee Rant, a board for cops and cop fans, whose posters are not at all fans of investigative journalists, to a recent editorial (in the News!) attacking the idea that stats were manipulated (“Two academics have libeled the NYPD…”). One of the posters notes that the News editorial page editor, Arthur Browne, is a former employee of Mike Bloomberg.



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