NYPD: Keeping Crime Lower By Not Reporting It?
Detectives with the NYPD, who field the phone calls from citizen-victims inquiring about the status of their case, noticed in many cases that there was no case. While an occasional misplaced file may have been a problem back in the days before most information was stored on a computer, you wouldn’t think such missing cases could be attributed to similar mistakes today. Instead, it seems, officers are just opting to not make an official report in many situations.
Whether it’s in an effort to please sergeants and keep official crime counts in the precincts down, or if it’s simple laziness and the desire to avoid typing a report—many victims find their complaints are treated as nothing more than an inconvenience rather than a criminal matter.
One woman was groped twice by a passing bicyclist in Queens. The first officer she spoke with told her that filing a report would only be a “waste of time” and also informed her that “these things happen.”
Another woman saw an intruder climb through the living room of her Upper West Side home. She ran and locked herself in an adjacent apartment, watching the intruder from a peep hole. Officers who later responded informed her that there would be no case number, they sent no one to interview her, and they did nothing to get the videotape from many nearby surveillance cameras.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, normally reluctant to bring any negative attention to the department, ordered a panel of former federal prosecutors to study the crime reporting system of the NYPD. While the study is focusing on the downgrading of crimes (from felonies to misdemeanors, for instance), it may also shed light on the practice of non-reporting.
Crime victims need to know that they are protected by those whose motto it is “to protect and serve.” But when the cops fail to even give their complaints the decency of a report, it makes you wonder what exactly it is that these individual officers believe their roles to be.
Generally, precincts are pressured to keep crime in their areas down. A higher crime rate is seen as a reflection of the quality of police work happening there. This, ironically, can lead to poor police work—including things like downgrading of reported crimes and failing to take actual reports at all. This, of course, is great for the suspected criminal, but bad for the victim and the community overall.
When you are accused of a criminal charge in New York state, it’s obvious the police took the complaint seriously. It’s time that you took it seriously as well. Contact our offices today for a free initial consultation on your case.