NEW ORLEANS -- The Louisiana legislative auditor is calling into question the accuracy of crime statistics submitted by the New Orleans Police Department.
An audit released to the public on Monday, accuses the NOPD of not reporting some serious crimes and in some cases, downgrading crimes to a less serious classification.
The statistics are included in a Uniform Crime Report (UCR), sent to the FBI and Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.
New Orleans state Sen. J.P. Morrell requested the audit.
"There was some outcry by the community that the stats they were being given were not correct," said Morrell. "There were some issues with the reporting, there are some pretty significant issues."
NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said auditors used flawed data in the report.
"The LLA reviewed a small, non random number of incidents, cherry picked from over 505,000 NOPD calls-for-service," said Serpas.
State auditors reviewed 1000 NOPD incident calls from 2012. They found 319 of them should have been counted among the most serious classification of crimes such as murder, rape and assault, but were not.
According to the audit, of the 319 calls in question, there was no report filed for 130 incidents because it was classified as "(Victim) Gone on Arrival", "Unfounded" or "Necessary Action Taken."
"It gives the appearance that not enough follow through was done on police investigating a case," said Morrell. "More importantly, when you saw the instances in which no one was available on the scene, it goes back to police response time."
Serpas said he asked his own internal auditors to take a look at 21,000 cases and that the data netted different results.
"Our experts found that less than 2 percent of the scored reports did not make it to Baton Rouge as they should have," said Serpas. "Put another way, 98 percent of the the reports expected to submitted for a UCR crime in 2012, were in fact submitted to the UCR."
"I would hope that the response would be we're going to correct those inconsistencies and make our data better, not complain that there was some kind of rigging on how the numbers were pulled," said Morrell.
Serpas said new safeguards are already in place to ensure the crime stats are accurate.
"Which has resulted in NOPD supervisors calling back thousands of victims. More than 5000 victims and reading the police reports them to confirm that what they said to police is what the police actually submitted."
Serpas said any notion that the NOPD intentionally under-reports crime is "absolutely false."
He also said many of the errors reported in the state audit come as a result of a change in computer systems last year.