Audit Finds NOPD Statistics Underreported

Did the New Orleans Police Department underreport crimes like murders, rapes, and robberies last year?

A recent audit suggests the numbers don’t add up.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has more on the results of the audit and reaction from the city’s top cop.

The state legislative auditor’s office released a report Monday that raises questions about the accuracy of serious crimes reported last year by the New Orleans Police Department.

Auditors reviewed one thousand incidents that were not reported to federal authorities, and determined about one third of them should have been reported.

“I’m pretty confident that we’re serving well and we’re going to strive to get better,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said.

Superintendent Serpas says the report does not tell the whole story.

Auditors agree, because they intentionally selected specific incidents.

As a whole Serpas says the department’s crime reporting system for the year in question was 98-percent accurate.

The report points to a mix of computer bugs and human error as reasons for under reporting.

“We work very hard to assure the accuracy of the data knowing that there’s error,” Serpas said. “This is a human experience.” “There’s sometimes going to be mistakes made.”

We turned to the public for reaction to the disparity.

“It is an issue and it is a number we need to have it correct so people are aware of the current state of the city,” New Orleans resident Christopher Windon said.

And that’s how Dave Kinahan sees it.

“Underreporting crime might not have me or my neighbors be properly prepared for the crime that takes place in our neighborhoods,” Kinahan said.

Rapael Goyeneche heads the watch dog agency, Metropolitan Crime Commission, Inc.

He thinks the auditor’s report is incomplete.

“It raises more questions than it provides answers,” Goyeneche said.

Even the auditors specified that the report shouldn’t be used to calculate an overall error rate.

“I don’t believe that there is necessarily proof of widespread wrong within the police department,” Goyeneche said. “And I’m going to reserve judgment until I see the inspector general’s report.”

The results of the inspector general’s investigation into police crime statistics is pending.

Serpas says the NOPD has already started implementing some of the auditor’s recommendations to correct underreporting.