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The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation (Advances in Police Theory and Practice) [Paperback]

by John A. Eterno, Eli B. Silverman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 31, 2012 1439810311 978-1439810316 0

In the mid-1990s, the NYPD created a performance management strategy known as Compstat. It consisted of computerized data, crime analysis, and advanced crime mapping coupled with middle management accountability and crime strategy meetings with high-ranking decision makers. While initially credited with a dramatic reduction in crime, questions quickly arose as to the reliability of the data.

The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation brings together the work of two criminologists—one a former NYPD captain—who present the first in-depth empirical analysis of this management system—exposing the truth about crime statistics manipulation in the NYPD and the repercussions suffered by crime victims and those who blew the whistle on this corrupt practice.

Providing insider insight into a system shrouded in secrecy, this volume:

  • Documents and analyzes a wide array of data that definitively demonstrates the range of manipulation reflected in official New York City crime statistics
  • Explores how the consequences of unreliable crime statistics ripple throughout police organizations, affecting police, citizens, and victims
  • Documents the widening spell of police performance management throughout the world
  • Reviews current NYPD leadership approaches and offers alternatives
  • Analyzes the synchronicity of the media’s and the NYPD’s responses to the authors’ findings
  • Explores the implications of various theoretical approaches to Compstat
  • Offers a new approach based on organizational transparency

Presenting a story of police reform gone astray, this book stunningly demonstrates how integrity succumbed to a short-term numbers game, casting a cloud on the department from which we can only hope it will emerge.

For more information, check out the authors' blog, Unveiling Compstat, at blogspot.com and their website.

The Authors in the News

The authors' studies on crime were featured in a November 1, 2010 New York Times article and their comments were published on the editorial page.

Their work was also cited in a November 30, 2010 Uptowner article about police manipulation of crime statistics.

Silverman and Eterno described a proposed strategy for improving community confidence in the integrity of crime statistics in a January 24, 2011 Daily News article.

On August 22, 2011, Eli Silverman commented on a recent rise in NYC crime statistics in a New York Post article.

On November 29, 2011, the Village Voice featured an article written by Silverman and Eterno on crime statistics manipulation and recent corruption scandals.

Eli Silverman was interviewed by the Plainview Patch in a December 20, 2011 article about people's perception of crime in a community.

The book is cited in a February 23, 2012 Wall Street Journal article about a lawsuit filed by a NYPD officer.

John Eterno was a featured guest on Talkzone Internet Talk Radio on February 25, 2012.

Eli Silverman spoke in a February 27, 2012 NY1 Online video about concerns regarding NYPD's stop and frisk policy.

The book was profiled in a February 27, 2012 article in The Chief, a weekly newspaper for New York civil service employees.

The authors appeared on a March 26, 2012 local ABC news program about underreported crime rates.

thePolipit blog discussed the book on April 2, 2012.

John Eterno was quoted in an April 9, 2012 New York Times article about the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.

Eli Silverman was quoted in a May 2, 2012 DNAinfo.com article about rising New York City crime rates.

A New York Times Op-Ed piece referenced Eli Silverman on May 13, 2012.

John Eterno's Op-Ed piece entitled "Policing by the Numbers" appeared in the New York Times on June 17, 2012.

The book was cited in a June 19, 2012 Mother Jones article.

John Eterno was featured in a Reuters TV program about the NYPD's "stop and frisk" policy.

Eli Silverman testified on April 4, 2013 in a class action lawsuit related to the NYPD stop and frisk policy.


Frequently Bought Together

The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation (Advances in Police Theory and Practice) + Sense and Nonsense About Crime, Drugs, and Communities: A Policy Guide + Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, Fourth Edition
Price for all three: $198.89

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Editorial Reviews

Review

" … absolutely worth reading. It raises serious concerns which, if true, amount to a terrible management system which has been allowed to run amok—raising some frightening civil liberties issues. It should be read by anyone involved in law enforcement and public safety statistical analysis because it highlights many possible ways to game the system and then describes the unintended consequences of such gaming."
—Nick Selby, in Police-Led Intelligence

About the Author

John A. Eterno, Ph.D., is professor, chairperson, and associate dean and director of graduate studies in criminal justice at Molloy College. He served as a sworn officer with the New York City police department (NYPD) and retired as a Captain. His various assignments included patrol, teaching at the police academy, conducting research, and commanding officer of several units. Notably, his research for the NYPD on physical standards won a prestigious Police Foundation award. He is also responsible for the research leading to increased age and education requirements for police officer candidates. He testified at the New York State Civil Service Commission and before the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services in this regard. His work on mapping with the NYPD also earned him the Enterprise Initiative Award from the New York City Mayor’s office.

Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He has previously served with the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Academy of Public Administration in Washington D.C. and was Visiting Exchange Professor at the Police Staff College in Bramshill, England. He has lectured, consulted with, and trained numerous police agencies in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His areas of interest include police performance management, community policing, policy analysis, training, integrity control, Compstat, and crime mapping.


Product Details

  • Series: Advances in Police Theory and Practice
  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439810311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439810316
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manipulation May 27, 2012
Format:Paperback
It seems that the NYPD are trying to make as many arrests as they can for petty crimes, like trespassing, and reduce the figures for bigger crimes, like burglary. Why else would a burglary be downgraded to trespass, and attempted murder become "reckless endangerment," while more and more summonses are given out for quality-of-life offenses?

Raymond Kelly has done, in my view, a terrible job. But it was Mayor Bloomberg who gave him the job, so I think he holds the blame too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Examination ! May 21, 2012
Format:Paperback
This volume exposes the underbelly of policing gone awry. The authors vividly document how a valuable policing management system has been turned on its head adversely affecting the cop on the street and citizens alike.

I highly recommend this valuable book to all interested in issues such as crime statistical manipulation, stop and frisk, racial profiling and quotas in policing in New York City and elsewhere. It is very well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book re: NYPD May 10, 2012
By L Jane
Format:Paperback
Excellent, well-researched, & well-written exploration of the way Comstat has been used--& misused--in New York City policing. Eterno & Silverman present a clear picture of the way the push for `better' crime stats has led to distortion of crime data & deception of the public. They clearly know their matierial & have excellent sources in the NYPD. I'm also impressed by the authors' appreciation of (and sympathy for)the pressures placed on NYPD officers. Many officers seem to be struggling with ethical & morale issues because of what the Mayor, Commissioner, & NYPD management are pushing them to do. That's probably one reason why some have been willing to break through the blue wall of silence.

It's very troubling that this book hasn't received the publicity it deserves! The public deserves to know this information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Book May 10, 2012
By TRL
Format:Paperback
This is a very important book because, while focusing on the NYPD, it illustrates very well how public policy generally can be determined by the desire of policy makers to present the public with a positive image of their work, rather than focusing on accurately evaluating and improving their policies. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of law enforcement and criminal justice in America.
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