Sergeant says NYPD manipulating crime stats

In an exclusive interview, Sgt. Robert Borrelli tells Eyewitness News the N-Y-P-D has been manipulating crime statistics.

March 26, 2012 10:43:58 AM PDT
In an exclusive interview, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD describes widespread manipulation of crime reports at the 100th Precinct in Queens. The sergeant says when he blew the whistle on the routine fudging of crimes, the department retaliated and transferred him to a midnight shift at Bronx Central.

Sergeant Robert Borrelli spent weeks with Eyewitness News, examining hours of audio tape and numerous crime reports.

It is proof, he says, that the Rockaway precinct where he was a supervisor has been downgrading felonies to make crime look low and top brass look good.

Borrelli says the NYPD has left him with no choice but to go public after months of ignoring his allegations of routine misclassification of crimes at the precinct.

He says the pressure there to manipulate crime reports has become unbearable.

" I just couldn't take it anymore," he said. "There came a point I finally broke, and I'm like you know this has to stop."

So, last May, Borrelli started handing over dozens of crime reports to the NYPD's Quality Assurance Division, whose job it is to ensure the accuracy of crime stats.

The reports, he claims, amounted to smoking gun - evidence of intentional, routine downgrading of crimes.

"They're constantly changing the classification to downgrade crimes so they're not tracked," he said. "It goes under the radar according to the FBI crime stats."

Eyewitness News asked if it meant the NYPD was trying to bury the serious crimes?

"That's correct," said Borrelli.

For example, an incident from last August in which an angry customer fired four shots at a cab driver, Borrelli says is a clear case of felony assault.

"I was the supervisor on the scene," he said. "I made the determination what we had, I appropriately charged the proper crime attempted assault 1. It was later on changed, believe the following morning, someone lined it out and changed it to reckless endangerment."

As a less serious crime, it did not have to be reported to the FBI.

In another case, the sergeant claims a felony burglary was downgraded to criminal mischief after an officer coached the victim to exclude from the crime report that her ex-boyfriend stole two flat screen TVs from her apartment.

Borrelli was recording when he called the victim to ask why the report never mentions the stolen televisionsor the boyfriend's unlawful entry. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:

Borrelli: "Did he have permission to be there?"
Victim: "No."
Borrelli: "How come he had access to the keys though?"
Victim: "Because he took them from me."
Borrelli: "Did he also take two flat screen TVs out of your apartment?"
Victim: "Yes, yes."
Borrelli: "Did you write that in the report?"
Victim: "I didn't give every detail because they said make it short and sweet. They said write down he came into home, smashed your stuff and that was it. So I write down what they told me too."

Borrelli says Quality Assurance admitted in a secret taped conversation that some of the reports he gave to them had been misclassified. Here is part of that conversation:

Borrelli: "Now, do you think kind of what I'm saying is being corroborated?"
Quality Assurance Inspector: "We have a couple of misclasses, obviously, based on some of your calls. We have misclass on crimes, we have misclass on domestic. So we have some misclasses."

The NYPD says Borelli's allegations of widespread downgrading have been unsubstantiated by a Quality Assurance audit at the 100th Precinct.

They found out of 925 audited crime reports, just 17 had been misclassified.

But of the reports Borelli fed to Quality Assurance, four of them were determined to be misclassified.

"They wanted to shut me up," he said.

Borrelli is no longer able to feed misclassified reports to Quality Assurance.

Suddenly and without explanation, he was recently transferred out of the precinct where he had been a supervisor for nearly a decade to the midnight shift at the Bronx courthouse.

"They needed to isolate me," Borelli said. "They needed to contain me, so they transferred me out to remove me from access to the complaint reports that I was giving to Quality Assurance on a daily basis."

Borrelli has also been hit with discipline charges for an argument with an officer.

The NYPD says the number of misclassifications found in their audit at the 100th Precinct was around 2 percent, the average at precincts citywide.

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