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Los Angeles Police Department incorrectly classifies over a thousand violent crimes as minor offenses

 

In over a time span of one year, 1200 violent crimes were counted as less weighty violations. (Thinkstock)
In over a time span of one year, 1200 violent crimes were counted as less weighty violations. (Thinkstock)

The Los Angeles Police Department incorrectly classified about 1,200 violent crimes as minor offenses in a one-year period spanning 2012 and 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

The crimes included stabbings, beatings and robberies and should have been classified as more serious aggravated assaults under FBI guidelines followed by many U.S. police departments, according to a Times investigation.

Since they were not, they were left out of serious crime statistics, giving a more favorable impression of the department’s effectiveness, the newspaper reported.

Had they been included in the LAPD’s tally of aggravated assaults, the offenses would have boosted that category of violent crime by 14 percent and total overall violent crime by 7 percent compared with what the department reported for the year-long period ending in September of 2013, according to The Times.

In a response to the newspaper, the LAPD stated the department “does not in any way encourage manipulating crime reporting or falsifying data.”

Department officials pointed out that the LAPD records more than 100,000 serious crimes each year, making errors in classification inevitable, but measures have nonetheless been taken to improve the accuracy of crime reporting, the newspaper reported.

In a statement to The Times, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the classification process is “complex” and “subject to human error.”

As a result of stricter reporting standards, the total number of aggravated assaults in the city showed a 12 percent increase in the first half of 2014, compared to the same year-ago period, according to The Times.

A team of five law enforcement experts asked to test the newspaper’s analysis examined a random sample of 400 crimes listed as minor offenses and found that 90 percent of them should have been classified as serious crimes, according to The Times.

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