Former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly has taken a jab at the city's current top cop, claiming the NYPD is fudging crime stats, and Mayor de Blasio shot back Wednesday.
In a radio interview set to be broadcast after the New Year, Kelly said his successor is "redefining what amounts to a shooting" in order to paint a rosier picture of crime statistics.
"All administrations want to show crime is down, but you have to take a hard look at those numbers, and I can tell you people don't feel safer in this city," said Kelly on the Reaching Out With Gregory Floyd show on AM-970.
In the taped radio interview set to be broadcast on AM-970 on Jan. 2, Kelly suggested current Commissioner Bill Bratton is being pressured to downgrade crimes so it appears there are fewer shootings.
"I think there's some redefinition as to what amounts to a shooting," he said.
NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald disagreed, saying in a statement to NBC 4 New York: "The definition of a shooting hasn't changed in more than 20 years -- including 12 when Ray Kelly was police commissioner."
"If he has any specific examples of how shootings have been 'redefined,' we would like to hear from him," he added.
Kelly's statement also drew a quick rebuke from de Blasio in his own radio interview Wednesday morning.
"We're using the exact same staqndard to track crime that Ray Kelly used. It was inherited from Ray Kelly. It's the exact same set of metrics," said de Blasio on 1010 WINS.
"I don't want to see anyone cast dispersions on the men and women of the NYPD who have successfully pushed down crime," he said.
Accusing the NYPD of manipulating statistics is not new. When Kelly was commissioner, former NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft alleged that bosses at the 81st Precinct fudged the numbers. He filed a lawsuit and settled for $600,000 -- but the NYPD did not admit wrongdoing.
So what does constitute a shooting? Year-end crime reports certified by both commissioners Kelly and Bratton define shooting incidents in the identical way, saying "classification as a shooting incident is based upon a bullet striking the victim."
NBC 4 also reached out to former commissioner Kelly's representatives, and they could not elaborate on his claim that there has been "redefinition as to what amounts to a shooting."
Radio host and president of Teamsters Local Union 237 Gregory Floyd said he'd like elaboration, too.
"Everyone wants to know what is the re-categorizing of shootings. I would like to know what it is, too," he said. "But I don't want to speculate."
"But Commissioner Kelly certainly had his reasons for saying that," he added.
Shootings have gone up since Bratton took over, but only slightly, statistics show. In the third week of December 2013, just before Kelly left the NYPD, there had been 1,076 shootings. So far this year, there have been 1,109. That's a 3 percent increase, but the NYPD stresses there have been far fewer unnecessary stop-and-frisk encounters.