The New Orleans Inspector General says police are underreporting robberies. The numbers are given to the FBI for its national Uniform Crime Report.
Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux puts it this way: “The data is bad.”
His office reviewed information provided over three years to the FBI, from June 2010 to May of last year. Robbery was selected for review after New Orleans reported a level that was 46 percent lower than 24 other cities with the highest crime rates.
Quatrevaux says 37 percent of robberies were misclassified as “miscellaneous” offenses, meaning no further action was needed.
“The worst impact is that NOPD leadership, you know, we’re counting on them to be smart about crime and to develop strategies and tactics to combat it. But if they never see the crime they’ll never be able to do that," he says.
Earlier this year, the Inspector General’s Office found underreporting of rape cases.
“It’s an old problem. We think the way to change it is for us to audit it annually until it’s correct.”
Former police chief Ronal Serpas filed a written response to the findings, saying there is no systemic failure in the reporting system.
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