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NYC police avoid reporting grand larceny

Paul Moses of The Village Voice reports that New York City's falling crime rate may not entirely credible. "The number of lost-property reports filed with police jumped by 44 percent from 1997 to 2004, according to a document the NYPD released to The Village Voice in response to a freedom-of-information request. Nearly half of that increase occurred in the last two years of that period. And 2005 was on pace, as of Nov. 1, to beat out the previous year. " The investigation found police are taking complaints that once would have been treated as grand larceny or another property crime and reporting them as "lost property." Grand larceny is one of the closely watched seven major "index" crimes monitored in the FBI's Uniform Crime Report and it makes up nearly 60 percent of the reported index offenses, so police commanders know that if they are going to get their numbers down, they have to report fewer thefts. (Editor's note: For other reporters interested in evaluating crime rates, IRE offers Understanding Crime Statistics: A Reporter's Guide.)

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