Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Compstat or Compscam? Police Lieutenant Blows Whistle on Fakestats that Police Chiefs Use to Claim Victory in the War on Crime, and on “Community Control,” i.e., the Chiefs’ Submission to Black Supremacists

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Lt. James D. Ponzi contacted me circa 2004, when I believe he’d written this article. We had a friendly if brief correspondence. I lost track of him when AOL auto-deleted his letter. Sorry about that, Lieutenant.

(An American AOL customer service rep lied through her teeth, in denying that they ever auto-deleted mail. They later stopped doing that, but now I have other problems with them, like emails that I send to folders, but which keep returning to my email server.)

I was able to find this article a few years ago, and then mislaid it. I stumbled onto it the other night the way one stumbles onto just about everything—when I was searching for something else, which I couldn’t find.

By Lt. James D. Ponzi

Shannon Schieber was alive in 1994 when Commissioner William Bratton introduced his Compstat Program to New York City. It was widely praised as the best way to reduce crime. In 1998, Shannon Schieber was raped and murdered and the lawsuit that her parents filed against the Philadelphia Police Department was instrumental in shedding light on the practice of downgrading sexual assault complaints. Her parents lost the suit, but it began a downward spiral for Compstat as it turned into Compscam for departments caught “cooking” statistics to show declining crime rates.

The Denver Police Department has recently started its own Compstat Program in an effort to curb its own rising crime rates in the categories of (among others) Burglary (up 49%), Violent Crime (up 42%), and a 44% rise in the number of registered sex offenders. A computer term came to mind as I noted the demise of Compstat in America. The term is “GIGO,” or “garbage in, garbage out.” Compstat numbers are entered by humans and I am sure you have all heard about “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

In March, 2004, Valeria Treves wrote that the Policeman’s Benevolent Association in New York City accused various precinct commanders and other officials of “cooking the books” on crime statistics. It came to light when the commander of the 50th Precinct in the Bronx got promoted for his crime reduction program and went to Brooklyn. Newsday reported that his precinct reported a 26% drop in crime during his tenure. Crime went up 11% in the weeks following his departure. Further investigation showed that reports were often “mis-catalogued and understated.” Felonies were classified as misdemeanors, rapes were logged as “inconclusive incidents,” and supervisors were charged with aggressively reviewing crime complaints to see if they could be downgraded.

[N.S.: That precinct commander was Deputy Inspector Thomas DiRusso. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly did absolutely nothing to him.]

Nicholas Stix writes in “Disappearing” Urban Crime that a former New York Police Commissioner, John F. Timoney, took over the Philadelphia Police Department in 1998. Timoney is regarded as one of the principal architects of NYPD’s success in reducing crime in New York City. In US News and World Report, April 24, 2000, Frank McCoy reported that “facing political heat to cut crime in the city, investigators in the PPD’s Sex Crime Unit sat on (thousands of) reports of rapes and other sexual assaults.” Captain Rich Costello, president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, stated that, “The way crime was solved was with an eraser.”

In 2000, Nicholas Stix reported in A Different Drummer that the FBI conducted a limited investigation and discovered that PPD had “failed to report between 13,000 and 37,000 major crimes.” FBI Investigators randomly selected 1000 records and interviewed 300 complainants. They compared the complaint with the officer’s report. They found that many “Lost or Stolen Property reports (non-crimes) were routinely filed as cover stories for felonies like grand larceny or breaking and entering” (felonies). They reused complaint numbers which automatically erased the old incident.

A 2000 Philadelphia Inquirer report called the “Rape Squad Files” noted that from 1997-1999, 300,000 sex crime reports were reviewed. They write that “The reports include several thousand incidents that were deemed ‘investigation of persons’ or ‘investigation, protection, and medical examination’- two non-crime codes in PPD’s classification system. This put one in four rapes in a non-crime category.

On October 23, 2003, five New Orleans cops were fired for downgrading statistics. AP reports that one Captain and several officers had previously been presented crime-reduction awards for 2002 and 2003.

The Miami Herald reported that on January 8, 2005, a scandal involving the manipulation of crime statistics by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office led to the resignation of senior officers and the reassignment of several others. The Herald reports that “Four of the sheriff’s command staff—trusted members of his inner circle—are out. Twenty-nine detectives and sergeants have been transferred, mostly to road patrol. A controversial accountability system known as Powertrac—may have badgered deputies into “cooking the books.” Many crimes such as burglaries and car break-ins were reported as “suspicious incidents.” In other cases, a suspect would admit to dozens of crimes but only be charged with one. Only the one charged would be tallied in crime statistics.

Since the early 1990’s, Atlanta officials were under-reporting crime in an effort to land the 1996 Olympics. Many reports were downgraded or just thrown away. According to the UK’s online newspaper The Inquirer, 22,000 reports turned up missing in 2002 alone. In New York, the crime rate doubled in a precinct when the proper classification was applied by the police union. The list goes on. What is happening? How do we know that Compstat ever worked now that these statistical fixes are showing up?

A dilemma of the modern police administrator is to balance community policing with keeping the crime rate in check. Let me first say that I am an advocate of Community Policing as it was originally conceived. It promoted connections between police departments and communities and initially lowered the crime rate. (If it still works, why the phony reports?) The problem is that some administrators have taken it too far. They now preserve their bond with the “community” by siding with them even when they are wrong. The unwritten policy is not to tell the community the truth if it will upset them. The “partnership” has become a dictatorship. Suddenly the community has the same amount of expertise as trained police officers. They do not have input into what we do, they tell us what to do. That very policy explains why crime is going up in some cities of comparable size while it is going down in others. The cops try to do their job, but they are handcuffed by some feel-good administrators who will not back them and bow to the “community” on every controversial issue. Why is it that only the vocal segment of the community becomes the “community?”

So what are we left with? The cops are alienated and even though they try to do their jobs, they never buy into the program, a primary tenet of Community Policing. The administration becomes an enemy instead of an ally. A natural consequence is that the crime rate begins to rise, and chiefs are presented with a choice. They must change and support their officers, which loses them the support of vocal segments of the community; or they can begin a program like Compstat. Compstat deals with numbers, but it also relies on intimidation. Some personnel, under the intense pressure, will “cook the books” and administrators will not investigate any numbers that make them look good. Everyone is happy except the citizens who get nothing but a false sense of security about the safety of their cities.

Is it going on in Denver? I see the signs, don’t you? I know that there have been many changes in the recent past. School Resource Officers are directed to handle violence without arrest. Gang shootings are not labeled gang shootings anymore. Gang members are not listed as gang members anymore. Drive-bys become [misdemeanor] Criminal Mischiefs when no one is injured. Is this an attempt to make it appear that we don’t have a gang problem in Denver when every street cop and detective knows that we do? Arrests are down even though the crime rate and warrants are up, and, administrators, if you are touting Compstat, don’t blame the crime rate on the economy or staffing shortages. Commissioner Bratton, Compstat’s originator, has stated many times that chiefs cannot blame the rising crime rate on either one.

A word of caution to detectives, data specialists, street supervisors, crime analysts, and station commanders, especially those in appointed positions. In all my research, I didn’t find any city where a chief was removed when the “cookings” came to light. What I did find were demotions for detectives and sergeants, firings of department and bureau heads, and sanctioning of street officers. These statistical misrepresentations are very easy to find once a department comes under scrutiny. If you are asked to alter reports, reclassify crimes into categories that do not seem correct, or use your “eraser” to lower crime statistics, remember that a primary tenet of Compstat is intimidation. Administrators do the badgering and you suffer the consequences. Chiefs of police are not going to step forward when Compscam comes to light and say that they ordered you to do it.

Finally, the attempt to document police work with statistical data is as old as police work. Compstat is just a more sophisticated method with a few added twists. There is more to being a cop than statistical output and stats will never define a good police officer. The words of Albert O’Leary of the NYPD Police Union are appropriate here. He told residents, who wanted to use Compstat to gauge whether it was safe to move into a neighborhood, not to live their lives “based on numbers like the department.”


N.S.: I have been reporting on the NYPD’s fraudulent statistical reporting practices, which I’ve variously called “crime stories,” “disappearing urban crime,” and “fakestats” since August 1996, when I published the first national exposé on the subject.

Also at WEJB/NSU, and by this writer:

“Crime Stories” (First national exposé of “fakestats”!)(1996);

Part I: “The Philadelphia Story: When the Cops are Crooks” (2002);

Part II: “Solving Philly Crime with an Eraser: The ‘Good Irishman’ and the Race Man” (2002);

“‘De-Policing’ in America’s Cities: Erasing the ‘Thin Blue Line’” (2002);

“The War on Police” (2002);

“‘Disappearing’ Urban Crime” (2004);

“Paul Moses: How the New York City Police Department Managed to Make Shootings and Stabbings “Disappear” (2005);

“LAPD: ‘We Don`t Get into’ Immigration Status of Christmas Story Director`s Killer” (2007);

“The Great Chicago Memorial Day Gang Attack Cover-Up” (2011);

“How Much of America’s Revolution in Crime-Fighting and Drop in Crime are Due to Importing the Mexican Model, Where Victims Give Up on Reporting 90%” (2011);

“Detroit: New Crime Stats Fail Smell Test; How Could Crime Go Down 7% Overall Last Quarter, While Homicides Went Up 31%?” (2011);

“Re-Victimization and ‘Disappearing’ Scandals: Dallas PD Revolutionizes Crime-Fighting Through Wholesale Stashing, ‘Unfounding,’ & Ignoring Complaints” (2012);

“Chicago: Homicides Up 60%, Non-Fatal Shootings Up 37%, and Overall… Crime is Down 10%, and Rape is Down 15%?!” (2012);

“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Screw the Stupid, Phony Crime Stats, I Care about Individual Sob Stories! Besides, Crime is Dropping…” (2012);

“Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn: ‘The Computer Ate My Crime Stats’: ‘Disappearing’ Crime in Milwaukee… and Everywhere Else” (2012);

“The Chief Strikes Back: Supporter of Milwaukee PD Chief Ed Flynn Says Flynn is being Smeared” (2012);

“From Compstat to Fakestat: The Epidemic of Fraudulent Official Crime Reports” (2012);

“North American Consultants ‘Disappearing’ Trinidad`s (Horrific) Crime Rate?” (2012);

“Justice Department: Nearly 3.4 Million Violent Crimes Per Year Went Unreported to Police from 2006 to 2010” (2012);

“Trayvon Martin—a Victim of The Obama/Holder Campaign to ‘Disappear’ School Crime” (2014);

“Stix Vindicated! Academics, Magazine Confirm Big City Police are ‘Disappearing’ Crime” (2014); and

“Disappearing Urban Crime in Los Angeles.”


Anonymous said...

As always,I never understand the motive.Taking the oath "to protect and defend"is not ambiguous in the least.Fudging numbers for bonus money is one thing,but failing to try to curb black crime is a different animal altogether.Seems like you can try to do both--though corrupt indifference is decidedly less dangerous.Simply deciding not to fight crime--because of orders from the mayor or other pols should result in the recall of pols.If the media wasn't so pro-minority,they would pursue stories like this.But no,they'd rather go after Russian "involvement".
How does anyone change a corrupt system?Mexico's drug cartel owns its law enforcement system--is that where we're going?Prisons are already notorious for corruption in our country.
More depressing news,but necessary to hear.Now we need suggestions to fix this.
--GR Anonymous

Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
I think I'm in anaphylactic shock at seeing this article from the Washington Post featured as a lead story on MSN:
Not only does it report that a black cadet was the one responsible for racist graffiti, it gives a list of other fake hate crimes AND a shout out to
Actually reporting a fake hate crime AND supplying supporting information that this is a trend? Why the sudden display of competent, rational and ethical reporting? Did somebody forget to take the right pill?

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw it. The mainstream media has been observing a policy of giving fake hate crimes massive media attention and ignoring or giving only token back page mention when they turn out to be fake, so this discordant note sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. Does this signify a policy shift for the news media? I hope so but my pessimistic nature makes it hard to believe that it could actually happen. There's just too much invested in the black victimization industry to upset the apple cart now. I can't help but suspect there is a behind the scenes battle going on about this story and heads are gonna roll. Lamestream media will be back to the usual "feeding the public PC slop" business in no time. Mark my words.

It would have been great to read the public comments on this, but MSN has suspended any public commenting. Supposedly they were "exploring" better ways for the public to express themselves, but nothing has been presented. Ironically, this article is the kind of truth the thread Nazi's used to delete.

Anonymous said...

. "In all my research, I didn’t find any city where a chief was removed when the 'cookings' came to light. "

Almost all the police chiefs at least in big cities are strictly political appointees many of the chiefs lacking merit. Cooking the books they would refer to as re-defining types of crime.