A new study has suggested that the police department manipulates statistics to create the appearance of falling crime rates, a charge that high-ranking department officials corroborated in interviews with The Times and Post. For example, officers would lowball the value of stolen goods so that they could be classified as petit rather than grand larceny, or would lump multiple crimes together as a single incident in their reports.
But even if the books have been cooked, The Times reports, ordinary citizens seem to feel that crime has indeed decreased. A.G. Sulzberger seeks out the common man in his colorful natural habitat:
Standing among the barrels in the brine-rich air of his Lower East Side pickle shop, Alan Kaufman, 51, said the neighborhood was almost unrecognizable from when he opened his business on the block three decades ago.
“You can always play with statistics,” he said. “But I really think that crime has gone down. What you see is true.”
Meanwhile, in Bushwick, a 61-year-old man with a BB gun was shot by cops who believed that the weapon was real. A witness told the Post:
“I heard two shots,” said Ben Padilla, 62. “To be honest, I’m not too surprised. Around this neighborhood, it’s normal, so I didn’t pay any mind to it.”