Police Promise – Again – to End Blotter Blackout

(Photo by Francisco Daum)
(Photo by Francisco Daum)

Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson, the commanding officer of the 88th Precinct, said Thursday that reporters may return to the station house next week to view and copy information from the weekly felony reports – promising an end to a two-week blackout.

We reported Dec. 5 the NYPD’s decision to restrict journalists’ access to the forms detailing crime reports in every precinct, cutting off the information used to compile police blotters in community news outlets around the city. After CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Dean Stephen B. Shepard sent a letter of protest to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly Dec. 9, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information John McCarthy promptly said journalists across the city will still be allowed to view the weekly crime reports in a timely manner – provided they make requests through his office.

In practice, that has not been the case for The Nabe and other local news outlets.

The Nabe called DCPI on Monday, requesting to view all 88th Precinct crime reports from Dec. 2 to Dec. 15. The officer who picked up said her office does not provide that kind of information because it’s too “time-consuming.” She added said that Henderson would only be able to provide an overview of crime in the precinct, not an incident-by-incident log.

Henderson, who spoke to The Nabe at a community holiday event, said that reporters could resume visiting the precinct starting Dec. 26. He said he had decided the old procedure would not change.

In the absence of detailed crime reports this week, we checked CompStat, which shows general crime statistics in city precincts. Between Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, the most recent week for which information is available, five robberies, one assault, three burglaries, eight grand larcenies and one auto grand larceny – a total of 18 felonies – were reported within the 88th Precinct, according to the data. No murders or rapes were reported during that time period.

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