Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Professor Eli Silverman and my brother Professor John Eterno have written a fascinating new book explaining problems with data driven crime fighting.  They expose the myths of the miracle crime reductions we have supposedly seen in recent years and its impact on policy.

In their peer reviewed research study that is featured in their book: The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation, they have discovered that many retired captains admitted that they fudged the numbers during their careers to make crime statistics look good because of the Compstat data system.  Police performance reviews have been based on high stakes crime reports since the nineties.

As a result, it seems that the police crime statistics are about as reliable today as numbers coming from the Department of Education. If there is so little crime, the authors then wonder why stop and frisks, which are supposed to be based upon reasonable suspicion. are up to over 600,000 a year from around 90,000 a short while back.

Professor Diane Ravitch contributed a blurb on the back jacket of the book and prominent criminologists are praising it.  You can go to John and Eli's website and pick the book up at a discount.  It is well worth reading.

This story needs to be reported by the mainstream press. Do you think they will have the guts to run with it and tackle Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly? The NY Times reported recently on a study that concluded that a decent teacher replacing a lousy teacher can add $250 a year for earnings even when this study was not yet peer reviewed. Will they report on this book too?

My brother and Dr Silverman made a splash in 2010 when they first released their preliminary findings and now they have dealt with the reaction to their study and its implications.

It is becoming ever more clear that New York City government today is a public relations firm masquerading as a government.

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