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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Phony Police Statistics Gives Way to Real Numbers

Crime up 13% in B'klyn's 81st Pct. where whistleblower accused chiefs of lowering felony stats
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - March 29, 2010

Crime is up 13% at the Brooklyn precinct where a whistleblower cop accused his supervisors of ignoring felonies to artificially lower the area's crime stats. Lawyers for whistleblower Officer Adrian Schoolcraft say the spike in felonies at the 81st Precinct in the first months of the year shows officials are now being more rigorous about how they classify crimes. "It raises the question: How were they taking reports before Adrian came forward, and are they being more careful now that everyone is watching what they do?" said lawyer Kevin Mosley. "Are they doing things now the way they were always supposed to be done?" Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, disputed that, saying crime was up 26% in the precinct at the end of January, just before the Daily News broke the story, and that it had fallen since then. The News reported last month that Schoolcraft had told the NYPD's Quality Assurance Division that crime statistics were fudged at the Bedford-Stuyvesant precinct to make the crime rate look lower. He provided the division information for 14 crime victims, saying either the victims were ignored or felonies were downgraded to misdemeanors. Of the 10 crime victims interviewed by The News, five backed up Schoolcraft's allegations and two others said they had problems with the precinct. Schoolcraft is under suspension for leaving work an hour early last Halloween without permission. He was subsequently involuntarily placed in a psychiatric facility, a move he contends is retribution for trying to expose wrongdoing. The precinct's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, has told The News he's confident the ongoing internal review of how the precinct files crime reports will clear him of any wrongdoing. Crime in the precinct fell sharply under Mauriello - about 17% in 2008 and last year. It had fallen more gently from 2003 to 2007, and even increased one year. But this year, through March 21 - the latest date for which statistics were available - crime was up 13% compared with the same time period last year, with felony assault up 74%, to 59 from 34. Grand larcenies and robberies were also up, though just slightly. Crime in two nearby precincts, meanwhile, was down substantially: 11.5% in the 73rd (Brownsville) and 10.2% in the 83rd (Bushwick). It was up 6.7% in the 90th (Williamsburg) and 1.3% in the 77th (northern Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.) City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens) called the precinct's crime spike "very interesting." He said a number of current and retired cops have contacted him since the News first wrote about Schoolcraft to talk about numbers being fudged. He said he is considering holding a hearing on the issue. New Chief of Patrol James Hall, meanwhile, told borough commanders at a recent meeting that he wanted "honest numbers," according to a source.

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