Underreporting

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Underreporting

Post by Phil'nOtto on Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:41 pm

Reading Debbien's post (and hearing her speak at the 2/21 meeting) and reading Paulf's post, reminded me of an incident with the 34 a couple of years ago.
I came home in the evening to my building on Seaman Ave to find one of my neighbors hiding behind the low wall between the sidewalk and the building's courtyard/entryway. She told me that she had been shot at with a paintball gun from the roof of the building across the street. 911 had been called. Two other residents of the building had also been shot at, and hit, with paintball pellets from the roof of the building across the street. There were paintmarks on the floor of the courtyard.
The police showed up and briefly interviewed the people who had been shot at or hit. They made an effort to go into the building across the street. Then they got ready to drive off in their cars without taking the information they needed to make a formal report of the assault that had taken place.
I told one of the people who had been hit to tell the police she wanted to make a report. She did, and the officer told her that she was not going to take a report, that no crime had been committed. The officer actively tried to discourage the person who had been hit from making a report. I interjected (I am a former street-crime prosecutor and remember a bit of the NY Penal Law) that what happened was an assault and that the officer needed to make a formal report. Only then did the officer agree to make a report.
The Daily News recently ran a piece about deliberate underreporting of crime by the officers of the 81st Pct.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] 02/2010-02-02_precinct_probed_for_fudging_stats_li_say_bklyns_81st_wanted_to_improve_its_crime.html
(If this link doesn't work, just Google it.) There is also a story about an incident of underreporting of a mugging in Isham Park at a blog called Inwood Chronicles.
I am not concluding that Inspector "I was on vacation" Capul has fostered a policy of underreporting, but with these four incidents, I think our City Council rep's should look into this carefully.
If we want more cops getting out of cars and walking around -- patrolling -- and more plain clothes cops in the parks and more enforcement of minor quality of life offenses and cops on horseback in the parks, then the 34's crime stats have to justify it.
Phil

Phil'nOtto

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Re: Underreporting

Post by erinnyc on Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:07 pm

I don't think it is only in the 34th. And I don't think it is just to make the police department look better. I had an incident with two 50th precinct officers. They didn't want to report a hit and run as a hit and run because it would require tons more paperwork and for them to pursue the driver who had hit my car. I think much of it is plain old laziness.

It really helps when witnesses and/or neighbors stay with the victim(s) while the police are there. More people watching to make sure the police do their jobs seems to make them more accountable.

I've also had positive experiences with police officers in the 34th who thanked me for taking the time to report incidences of sort of trivial theft/vandalism (my turn signal light was stolen from my van, for instance). One officer told me I was the fourth person in the area to report such an incident that morning. He said that it really helped them when residents report such crimes so that they can address those crimes. Every time I see that officer around the neighborhood, I give him a shout out.

erinnyc

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Re: Underreporting

Post by Spebenz on Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:58 pm

I'm friends with a bunch of cops from various pct's across this fine city, and I know first hand that they will do whatever it takes to get out of doing paperwork. If making an arrest/filing a report means they have to stay an extra 4-5 hours and fill out the paperwork, instead of going home and going to sleep, what do you think they will choose to do!

Spebenz

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Re: Underreporting

Post by Phil'nOtto on Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:34 pm

Spebenz, I think what police officers will do depends on their motives. If they are getting close to retirement and thinking about the size of their pension, they'll be motivated to put in overtime to increase their pension. Their bosses on the other hand will be watching the precinct's budget and discouraging "unneeded overtime." OT is carefully watched in NYPD -- recall how Insp're Capul mentioned it a couple of times Sunday night.
Phil ('n Otto -- who really likes to go home and sleep)

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