Posted on March 14, 2023

Why NYC Crime Policy-Makers Are Now Ignoring Data

Hannah E. Meyers, New York Post, March 11, 2023


Federal mandates in the 1960s required police departments to begin collecting crime stats.

Over the next 20 years, the NYPD tallied key data points such as the number of officer firearm discharges and response times to crime-in-progress calls.

And in the 1990s, CompStat — which tracks crime and holds precinct commanders accountable for their numbers — pushed police to identify more nuanced patterns in this data, such as when shootings coincided with illegal dice games.

These insights enabled cops to disrupt lower-level offenses, while preventing more serious crimes.

Indeed, it was by digging doggedly into the stories behind those numbers that the city achieved its most remarkable declines in crime, police aggression and incarceration.

But today, even relative progressives like Mayor Adams are having little luck with data.

Last month Adams requested data-driven legislative changes that would help keep the 327 shoplifting recidivists responsible for 30% of the city’s retail theft from causing more mayhem.

But his proposal was dismissed—a pattern that will likely persist unless our data-hostile climate changes.

Data is also becoming more difficult to come by following a suppression in record-keeping as a result of the 2017 Raise the Age legislation.

The law obscures case outcomes for approximately 83% of felonies and 75% of violent crimes committed by 16 and 17-year-olds.


This erosion of deep insight by relinquishing the demand for detailed data has also crossed over into how criminal justice-policy is reported.

The New York Times ran an op-ed last month sloppily claiming “2022 had the most police killings on record with Black people disproportionately more likely to be killed by police than white people.”

But this echo-chamber claim, also trumpeted by The Guardian and Bloomberg, is based on a record-keeping that only began in 2013.

Were police killings significantly higher in prior years? Definitely. Has evidence to date conclusively established racial bias as the reason for racial disparities among victims of police officers lethal force?  Nope.


Since New York state bail reform, the reoffending rate has only been 1% or 2%, say our Senate majority leader and city comptroller.

But how are they basing this measurement? On the small population of persistent reoffenders whom the legislation impacted? No.

Are they counting each incident if an individual reoffends multiple times? No.

Instead, they are counting whether or not a person reoffends — as opposed to the number of times he reoffends in total.