NYPD Tapes Part 3: The Real World Effect of Downgrading Crime Complaints


Part 3 of the Village Voice series the NYPD Tapes examines the real world effect of downgrading crime complaints by looking at how a series of sexual assault-robberies in Washington Heights were downgraded to misdemeanors, allowing a sexual predator to remain at large for two months.

Part 1 and Part 2 of the series reported that quotas are driving the issuing of tickets, and the sharp increase in stop and frisks. In addition, the articles raised of the question of whether orders given by precinct commanders led to violations of civil rights.

The series also showed the effect of the NYPD’s staffing crisis from a precinct level. And reported that the precinct discouraged people from reporting crimes and downgraded crime complaints.

Also in Part 3, retired NYPD members said that the crime analysis units in each precinct are where the downgrading takes place, hampering the course of investigations by delaying them. And they said the practices they spoke of are used in all 75 precincts.

Meanwhile, Bed-Stuy community leaders are discussing plans for a community meeting on the issues raised in the series. The NYPD recently acknowledged that elements in the Voice series are part of an investigation into the 81st Precinct.

Two weeks ago, Bed-Stuy Councilman Al Vann sent a letter to Kelly outlining concerns from Bed-Stuy leaders about the contents of the articles. To date, Kelly hasn’t publicly responded, except to cite the ongoing investigation.