counting crime and identifying criminals
NEW YORK CRIME STATS ARE CONCOCTIONS
Hal Pepinsky, email@example.com, pepinsky.blogspot.com
October 22, 2011
Today on “This American Life,” most of the program was about how from roll call to the very top of the NYPD, since its inception in 1994, the much touted crime reporting system known as COMPSTAT is bogus. The TAL segment is essentially an interview with former officer Adrian Schoolcraft and playing of clips of the recordings he made from when he was first ordered at roll call to make numbers on summonses to how senior commanders have him taken away to a psychiatric ward. It’s quite a drama.
I googled Adrian Schoolcraft and found this NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/nyregion/10quotas.html?pagewanted=all
In “Living Criminologically with Naked Emperors” (http://critcrim.org/critpapers/pepinsky1.pdf) first published in the Criminal Justice Policy Review in 2000, I argued that COMPSTAT’s reputed success in controlling crime in New York was a well-established pattern of focusing on arrests and downgrading or not recording reported crime. I feel vindicated. Schoolcraft supports my conviction that police statistics and all claims to know how crime and criminality are distributed, let alone whether rates are going up or down, are inherently contaminated by the awareness and biases of the reporters. As far as I can see, police crime recording always has been and always will be politically corrupt, transparently so from the outset. What a game we play when we pretend to learn about crime from analyzing crime reports. Love and peace, hal