LAPD Watchdog to Launch Broad Inquiry Into Misclassified Crime Stats

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LAPD Chief Charlie Beck addresses the media during a news conference where he and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced midyear crime statistics at the LAPD 77th Street Police Station in South Los Angeles. (Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

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The Los Angeles Police Department’s civilian watchdog said Monday he would launch a broad inquiry into the accuracy of the agency’s crime statistics after a Times investigation revealed that the LAPD understated violent crime in the city.

Inspector General Alex Bustamante said he planned to expand on The Times’ review, which focused on a recent one-year period, and that he would conduct an examination of multiple years of data to determine whether declines in crime in Los Angeles were as dramatic as reported by the department.

The Times reported Sunday that the LAPD had misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes as minor offenses during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2013. Nearly all were aggravated assaults. Had the crimes been recorded correctly, the official figure for aggravated assaults would have been almost 14% higher than the LAPD reported. The tally for violent crime overall would have been nearly 7% higher.

The misclassified crimes included hundreds of stabbings, beatings and robberies. In one case, two men choked and beat a neighbor with a metal bar until he lost consciousness. In another, a man stabbed his wife in the face with a screwdriver and threw her down a flight of stairs. Both cases were recorded as minor assaults.

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