Earlier this month LA Voice asked “Is LAPD Fudging Our Crime Stats?” and provided more than a handful of stories from people, including us, where officers would not take police reports of incidents, which would make it look like crime rates were dropping. On the LAPD Blog The LAPD’s Officer in Charge of the COMPSTAT Unit, Detective III Jeff Godown responds to this question saying it’s completely unfounded:
“As the Officer in Charge of the COMPSTAT Unit, I have had many discussions with Chief Bratton and the opportunity to talk with every commanding officer on the LAPD regarding the importance of accurately documenting and correctly reporting crime in the city. Each command follows standardized crime investigation and reporting procedures. From attending every COMPSTAT meeting and, after first analyzing the statistics reviewed for patrol operations throughout the city, I can assure you that no Captain, Commander, or Chief level staff officer is “cooking the books” to reduce crime in his area to make themselves look good. Far from the portrayal given of New York Police Department commanders that, “They are, by nature, ambitious people who lust for promotions, and rising crime rates won’t help anybody’s career.”, I know of no LAPD command or staff officer who would “risk” their career by encouraging, or participating in, the “fudging” of crime statistics. It is interesting to note that all the articles concerning these issues have been generated on departments from back east. However, I can only address the LAPD and my role in the COMPSTAT process here in Los Angeles.”
He goes on to say that cooking the books would be completely unethical and remove a considerable amount of trust in the department which I agree with. I guess my question, and perhaps the lingering question from the LA Voice piece is which is a bigger “risk” to a staff officer’s career – cooking the books or missing the projections?