The Crime Numbers Game : Management by Manipulation book cover
1st Edition

The Crime Numbers Game
Management by Manipulation

ISBN 9781439810316
Published January 31, 2012 by Routledge
314 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In the mid-1990s, the NYPD created a performance management strategy known as Compstat. It consisted of computerized data, crime analysis, and advanced crime mapping coupled with middle management accountability and crime strategy meetings with high-ranking decision makers. While initially credited with a dramatic reduction in crime, questions quickly arose as to the reliability of the data. This volume brings together the work of two criminologists?€”one a former NYPD captain?€”who present the first in-depth empirical analysis of this management system?€”exposing the truth about crime statistic?€?s manipulation in the NYPD and the repercussions suffered by crime victims and those who blew the whistle on this corrupt practice.

Table of Contents

Forewords by Sir Hugh Orde, OBE, QPM, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Commissioner Andrew Scipione, APM, New South Wales Police Force, Australia
The Unusual Suspects
Police under Arrest
Numerical Performance: Distortions and Displacement
Compstat Conversions
Private Sector Performance Shortcomings
Unraveling the Puzzle
The NYPD’s Untold Story: Crime Report Manipulation
Survey of Retirees
Crime Victims Coming Forward
Detective Harold Hernandez
Hospital Data
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Data
Recently Released Historical Data
The Letter of the Law
NYPD Complaint Reports for Illegal Drug Use
Admitted Problems with Manipulation by the NYPD and
Other Jurisdictions
Our Report Goes Public
Performance Management: Pitfalls and Prospects
Organizational–Managerial Consequences
Field Operations Restrictions
Societal Consequences
Prospects for Reform
Performance Management in New York City: The Use of
Symbolic Language
Police Performance Management: The View from Abroad
Performance Policing in the United Kingdom
Big Bad Bully Bosses: Leadership 101
The Unrelenting Pressures of NYPD Compstat
Bullying Behaviors by Management
NYPD and the Media: Curbing Criticism
The Condemnations
Understanding NYPD–Media Spin
The Nature of Police–Media Interactions
The NYPD and the Media: Political Ramifications
Promoting Favorable Stories
Suppressing Dissent
Marginalizing Criticism
Conclusion—Conflicting Forces
Compstat: Underpinnings and Implications
Broken Windows Theory and Compstat
Limited versus Unlimited Government
Social Science Theory and NYPD Compstat
Specific Examples
Silence Is Not An Option
Lesson Learned
Chapter Ramifications

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John A. Eterno, Ph.D., is professor, chairperson, and associate dean and director of graduate studies in criminal justice at Molloy College. He served as a sworn officer with the New York City police department (NYPD) and retired as a Captain. His various assignments included patrol, teaching at the police academy, conducting research, and commanding officer of several units. Notably, his research for the NYPD on physical standards won a prestigious Police Foundation award. He is also responsible for the research leading to increased age and education requirements for police officer candidates. He testified at the New York State Civil Service Commission and before the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services in this regard. His work on mapping with the NYPD also earned him the Enterprise Initiative Award from the New York City Mayor’s office.

Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He has previously served with the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Academy of Public Administration in Washington D.C. and was Visiting Exchange Professor at the Police Staff College in Bramshill, England. He has lectured, consulted with, and trained numerous police agencies in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His areas of interest include police performance management, community policing, policy analysis, training, integrity control, Compstat, and crime mapping.


" … absolutely worth reading. It raises serious concerns which, if true, amount to a terrible management system which has been allowed to run amok—raising some frightening civil liberties issues. It should be read by anyone involved in law enforcement and public safety statistical analysis because it highlights many possible ways to game the system and then describes the unintended consequences of such gaming."
—Nick Selby, in Police-Led Intelligence