Crime Rates Revisited

I recently posted some casual comments about crime rates. One thing I noticed was that NYC’s statistics looked pretty good compared to those of other large US cities.

Now I am reminded, via this post on David Hardy’s blog, that there is a reasonable case for suspecting NYC of cooking the books. I don’t know to what extent the NYC government really did that, but it certainly appears that the City’s crime-reporting system created strong incentives for police to falsify reporting.

5 thoughts on “Crime Rates Revisited”

  1. While it is true that at times, moreso in some precincts than others, officers have been encouraged to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors or violent crimes to non-violent crimes where the violent element of the report was suspect. I don’t see the incentives to do this being greater in NYC than elsewhere and I don’t think its as significant factor as implied. Furthermore, the actual and substantial reduction in crime (for whatever combination of reasons) is beyond question for anyone who lived through the era.

  2. A little data analysis should show if significant fudging is going on.

    Murders have long be taken to be the most accurately reported crime. Its difficult to make a body disappear by bureaucratic slight of hand.

    Murder and assault rates usually rise and fall in tandem. If the murder rate is fixed or rising but the assault rate is falling then that would be good evidence of corruption in the reporting of assaults. A good statistician could tell if there had been twiddling rather quickly.

  3. It may be difficult to obtain data with which to make such comparisons. The author of the Voice piece claims that the NYPD has been stonewalling FOI Act requests for localized crime stats.

Comments are closed.