LAPD email indicates department is still misclassifying serious crimes as minor

We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).

A Los Angeles Police Department internal email shows that the department has misclassified up to 80% of aggravated assaults as simple assaults. That’s important because if they can label a crime as belonging to the Part II family of crimes it doesn’t get counted in the overall violence crime statistics reported publicly—the only numbers that really matter to the LAPD and City Hall.

A November 3, 2016 email from the Commanding Officer of COMPSTAT Division John Neuman, shows that between January 1, 2015 and October 29, 2016 an inspection of simple assault crimes that included a dangerous weapon were classified by the department as a less serious Part II crime when they should have been classified as a more serious Part I crime like an aggravated assault or robbery.

According to Neuman’s email:

“The inspection is looking at a total of 1,792 Simple Assaults Citywide from the past 22 months.  A very quick sampling of such showed that up to 80% of these were misclassified.”

Neuman’s email also indicated that the department was taking steps internally to fix the numbers but made no mention of alerting the public. If the department doesn’t fix and release the adjusted actual and real violent crime statistics for 2015 they’ll never be able to get an accurate account of the increase or decrease in crime from 2014. The same goes for 2015 and 2016.

Neuman’s emails seems to indicate that this was a random sampling so I am sure the number is much higher.

This isn’t the first time the LAPD has been caught cooking the books, though.

In 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that 14,000 serious assaults had been misclassified as minor offenses during an eight-year period, thus lowering the city’s crime levels. An internal audit by the department’s inspector general said that number was 25,000. The Times reported that, “More than a quarter of the errors were due to the LAPD failing to count cases in which suspects brandished weapons as aggravated assaults.”

At the time Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said they were taking steps to correct the problem. We’re now headed into 2017 and apparently the problem still isn’t fixed.

Here’s the email:

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It looks like not only will the department have to adjust its numbers but also so will Chief Beck. If these numbers are off, then his weekly report of crime statistics is off too.

Beck

And finally, while we don’t blame the LAPD for the increase or decrease in crime–quite frankly that’s all on the public they police–we do expect Chief Beck and co. to be forthcoming and honest about what the numbers really are.

 

The Court of Public Opinion

  • C pltn

    It’s important for all in Command Staff to make sure the numbers appear to be actually lower. Because who would hire a Chief of Police from a City that can’t control it’s crime?

    Beck is a lame duck. But all those under him can’t be the next Chief, but they will be a Chief somewhere. Smoke and Mirrors.

  • cutty sark

    Hiltner, Malinowski, Eskridge should all be questioned about their management of this murder investigation as Captain at Foothill Station.
    As should every detective and officer who was involved at any point in this case, whether currently employed or since retired.

    What about all of the other murder victims, whose death was a tragic loss for their family and friends – don’t they deserve a proper, professional and timely investigation. Why should this one be treated any differently?

    Because this murder was seemingly premeditated with the purpose to broadcast itself, to stun the senses, shock the sensibility and spread fear.

    And the first official recorded involvement of LAPD included a probable violation of policy and resulted in destruction of evidence.

    And it coincides with scandalous practices at one of the largest banks in the nation which have since been revealed and resulted in over $120 million in voluntary penalties.

  • cutty sark

    Nor was it typical practice for Beck to publicly reprimand and demote/transfer a 30 year department veteran – like he did with Foothill Captain Hiltner in early Sept. 2012.

    Upon Beck’s shaming and removal of Captain Hiltner, current LAPD Commander Malinowski was appointed Captain at Foothill Station. Only he can account for his role as the investigation of Jacob Burns murder settled in as an abandoned dog under the neglectful watch of Foothill detectives.

    Following the promotion of Malinowski to command staff, Captain Eskridge took command at Foothill Station.

    Under Eskridge, the Wells Fargo Bad Accounts Murder investigation remained a car without wheels.

  • cutty sark

    What happens when the crime is accurately classified, but everything else that’s done is wrong?
    LAPD and the Wells Fargo Bad Accounts Murder

    March 31, 2012
    Wells Fargo branch employee Jacob Burns left for work that morning, but he never got there.
    Classification as a murder victim would come later, but by the time the bank branch closed that afternoon – Burns had already been killed and LAPD had destroyed the crime scene.

    LAPD Foothill detectives would spend the next 4 years allowing potential evidence to become lost, degraded, destroyed while they sat on their hands.

    Holding the investigation in shackles required frequent reassignment of detectives – not typical practice for LAPD.

  • bluethru1994

    Do you know how difficult it is too pick a particular crime code. There are hundreds of crime codes and each one requires something different. The average watch commander that is putting crime codes on the reports does not have 30-minutes to research and select what crime code fits the best. The whole system is flawed and should be fixed. Due to this being a government, we know it will not be fixed and thus leaving the LAPD up for more and more scrutiny. The whole truth is that nobody is covering things up, they just have not been trained properly and making their best guess on the crime codes.

  • bluethru1994

    Kind of went off on a tangent, I thought we were talking about crime codes?

  • Spencer Jacobson

    2 Questions that you can’t answer…

    Why are the errors always in favor of coding the crimes as less serious?
    Why don’t we see it going the other way?