New York Daily News

March  24, 2004

PBA: Crime stats false

Says brass forced to 'cook the books'

By MICHELE McPHEE
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

Police union officials squared off with city officials yesterday over allegations that NYPD precinct commanders "cook the books" to maintain plummeting crime statistics.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch and Ed Mullins, head of the union that represents sergeants, said the NYPD consistently pressures top brass to miscategorize major crimes.

"They are forced to falsify stats in order to maintain the appearance of a drastic reduction in crime," Lynch said.

Mullins said his sergeants have witnessed felony larcenies being reduced to petty larcenies, assaults that are logged as harassment cases and a slew of other discrepancies that make it appear as though crime is down.

"It creates a false sense of security," Mullins said.

The union leaders said they knew of two examples where numbers were fudged: in the Bronx's 50th Precinct and in Manhattan's 10th Precinct.

Police officials were outraged at the accusations, saying they were "invented stories of crime data suppression" created after a delegate was disciplined.

"Our police officers have made New York the safest city in America. Only the PBA disagrees," said Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman.

Over the past decade, crime has dropped to lows not seen since the 1960s, a reduction Mayor Bloomberg credits to rank-and-file cops.

The mayor said yesterday that PBA officials - who recently rented a Times Square billboard to say that city cops are among the worst paid urban officers in the country - are trying to undermine the hard work of the NYPD.

"I'm a bigger advocate, a fan, of the members of the PBA than apparently the union leadership is," Bloomberg said.

The battle of the crime statistics is the latest rift between Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the unions. Earlier this year, the PBA lambasted Kelly after he announced that the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Brooklyn by a housing cop was "unjustified." That cop was later cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

The PBA's 22,000 members have been working without a contract or a raise since August 2002.