Two criminologists are drawing a connection between the NYPD’s looming ticket fixing scandal and “fixing” complaint reports to manipulate crime statistics.
In an article provided to the Voice, Professors John Eterno and Eli Silverman argue that the latter is just as common as the former, because of the constant pressure for numbers emanating from police headquarters and the CompStat strategy.
Those numbers include drops in major crime, more summonses, more stop-and-frisks, and downgrading felonies to misdemeanors.
“This forces low-level officers to write summonses, even when it may conflict with the mission of the department,” they write. “This is one of the reasons why the department has someone to void summonses at the Chief of Department’s office. ”
The cause, they say, is that under CompStat, commanders are less concerned with integrity in their statistics than they are with making the numbers look good.
“It is time to hold the upper echelon accountable,” they write. “If they were not aware, they should have been. Prosecution of lower ranks is shameful. Those in higher positions need to be leaders and take responsibility.”
Eterno is a associate dean of criminal justice at Molloy College. Silverman is a professor emeritus at John Jay College. They are working on a book about CompStat.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 28, 2011