From the Los Angeles Times:
The LAPD misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes during a one-year span ending in September 2013, including hundreds of stabbings, beatings and robberies, a Times investigation found.
The incidents were recorded as minor offenses and as a result did not appear in the LAPD’s published statistics on serious crime that officials and the public use to judge the department’s performance.
Nearly all the misclassified crimes were actually aggravated assaults. If those incidents had been recorded correctly, the total aggravated assaults for the 12-month period would have been almost 14% higher than the official figure, The Times found.
The tally for violent crime overall would have been nearly 7% higher.
Numbers-based strategies have come to dominate policing in Los Angeles and other cities. However, flawed statistics leave police and the public with an incomplete picture of crime in the city. Unreliable figures can undermine efforts to map crime and deploy officers where they will make the most difference.
More than two dozen current and retired LAPD officers interviewed for this article gave differing explanations for why crimes are misclassified.
Some said it was inadvertent. Others said the problem stemmed from relentless, top-down pressure to meet crime reduction goals.
If the information is deliberately manipulated to make the department look good, what else is the department willing to do?