The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation

John A. Eterno and Eli B. Silverman


Special Offer



  • Presents a critical analysis of Compstat based upon primary research
  • Uses data from the NYPD available only to authors
  • Discusses both academic and practitioner views
  • Contains numerous data tables and figures that reveal Compstat's strengths and weaknesses
  • Reviews current NYPD leadership approaches
  • Provides specific recommendations to advance police theory and practice

For more information, check out the authors' blog, Unveiling Compstat, at

      Author Bios

John A. Eterno, Ph.D, is chairperson and associate dean of graduate studioes in criminal justice at Malloy College. He is a retired Captain from the NYPD. Dr. Eterno is managing editor of Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. His books include Policing with the Law: A Case Study of the New York City Police Department (Praeger) and Police Practices in Global Perspecitve (with Dilip Das) (Rowan & LIttlefield).
Eli B. Silverman, Ph.D, is Professor Emerius at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the National Academy of Public Administration in Washington, D.C. and was Visiting Exchange Professor at the Police Staff College in Bramshill, England.  He has lectured and consulted with numerous police agencies in the U.S., Europe, Central and South Americas, Asia, and Australia.  His recent publications include: NYPD Battles Crime: Innovative Strategies in Policing, Boston: Northeastern University Press.

The Crime Numbers Game: 

Management by Manipulation

Series: Advances in Police Theory and Practice


Published: January 18, 2012 by CRC Press, 313 Pages


ISBN-10: 1439810311


ISBN-12: 978-1439810316


Authored By: John A. Eterno, Professor, Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice, Malloy College, Rockville Centre, New York, USA; Eli B. Silverman, Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

In the mid-1990s, the NYPD created a performance management strategy known as Compstat.  It consisted of coputerized data, crime analysis, and advanced crime mapping coupled with middle management accountability and crime strategy meetings with high-ranking decision makers.  While initially created with a dramatic reduction in crime, questions quickly arose as to the reliability of the data.


The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation brings together the work of two criminologists-one a former NYPD captain-who present the first in-depth empirical analysis of this management system-exposing the truth about crime statistics manipulation in the NYPD and the repercussions suffered by crime victims and those who blew the whistle on this corrupt practice.


Providing insider insight into a system shrouded in secrecy, this volume:


  • Documents and analyzes a wide array of data that definitively demonstrates the range of manipulation reflected in official New York City crime statistics
  • Explores how the consequences of unreliable crime statistics ripple throughout police organizations, affecting police, citizens, and victims
  • Documents the widening spell of police performance management throughout the world
  • Reviews current NYPD leadership approaches and offers alternatives
  • Analyzes the synchronicity of the media’s and the NYPD’s responses to the authors’ findings
  • Explores the implications of various theoretical approaches to Compstat
  • Offers a new approach based on organizational transparency


Presenting a story of police reform gone astray, this book stunningly demonstrates how intergity succumbed to a short-term numbers game, casting a cloud on the department from which we can only hope it will emerge.

The Authors in the News
The authors' studies on crime were featured in a November 1, 2010 New York Times article and their comments were published on the editorial page.
Their work was also cited in a November 30, 2010 Uptowner article about police manipulation of crime statistics.
Silverman and Eterno described a proposed strategy for improving community confidence in the integrity of crime statistics in a January 24, 2011 Daily News article.
In August 2011, Eli Silverman commented on a recent rise in NYC crime statistics in a New York Post article.
On November 29, 2011, the Village Voice featured an article written by Silverman and Eterno on crime statistics manipulation and recent corruption scandals.

Authors in the News

Author in the news, Safest big city in America? How the nickname can co-exist with the spike in crime, PIX11, June 10,2015

Author in the news, Flipping Chicago's Crime Rate, NRA America's 1st Freedom, May 15, 2015

Author  in the news, The NYPD's Biggest Problem Might Actually Be an Overreliance on Numbers, CityLab Jan, 8, 2015

Crime Numbers Game cited again, The Crime Report, November 17, 2014

Author in the news, Police Quotas Are Terrible, And NYPD Still Using Them, Huffignton Post Oct. 2, 2014

Author's in the News,, Aug. 11, 2014 

Author's in the News, LA Times Aug. 9, 2014 

Author's quoted ,  Just Like in "The Wire," Real FBI Crime Stats Are "Juked", Mother Jones June 19, 2014

Crime Numbers Game makes the News - Money Remains Crime-Fighting Tool for New York Police -


Stop and Frisk - Experts Analysis,  UB Reporter: March 2014


The Tuth About Chicago's Crime Rates: part 2 ; Chicago Magazine, June 2014


Author Comments - "Nassau County police to hire consultant to strengthen ethics policies";  Newsday, Long Island, Dec. 27, 2013

Author's in the News,  New York Times Dec. 19th, 2013


Author's in the news, The Chief, Dec. 9th, 2013


Crime Number's Game in the news, PIX 11


Crime Number's Game in the news, PIX 11 Nov. 9th, 2013


Silverman quoted in The Chief Nov. 9th 2013, "End to Manipulating Stats Could Tarnish de Blasio" by Mark Toor


Author's in the news; CUNY Academic Commons Oct. 17th, 2013 -  Interview with Eli Silverman on Recent Stop-And-Frisk Trial by Heidi Knoblauch

Research cited in important court case,  CUNY TV Oct. 17, 2013


Crime Numbers Game revealed on TV, City Talk Sept. 25th, 2013


Mike Bloomberg's fact-free defence of stop-and-frisk, Eterno and Silverman research cited, Sept. 11, 2013


Eterno and Silverman researched cited again; The Cheif Aug. 19, 2013

John Eterno and the Crime Numbers Game on MSNBC Aug. 13th, 2013

Eterno-Silverman research cited in Stop and Frisk Decision; Washington Post Aug. 13

"The Crime Numbers Game" cited in the UK’s Guardian Newspaper; July 22, 2013
"The Crime Numbers Game" findings confirmed; The Chief July 12, 2013
NYPD crime stat review shows need for transparency;  Eterno and Silverman findings confirmed - Long Island News 12
"Frisk" Case: Shouting's Over Until the Decision - The Chief: News of the Week

Update on Stop and Frisk trial, The Chief May 24th, 2013

Stop and Frisk Controversy, May 17, 2013 

Eli B. Silverman: Manufacturing Low Crime Rates at the NYPD: Reputation Versus Safety;

Witness: NYPD officers feel pressure to stop,  frisk; Newsdsay
Eli Silverman in Daily News, April 5, 2013 
"The Crime Numbers Game" goes to Washington, Feb. 5, 2013
Jan. 23, 2013, "The Crime Numbers Game" in the News again,  Wall Street Journal
John Eterno and "The Crime Numbers Game" make the news, Dallas News
Eterno and Silverman comment on New York City's crime, Jan. 7, 2013
"The Crime Numbers Game" in the news Jan. 4, 2013
New attention to "The Crime Numbers Game", October 30, 2012
"The Crime Numbers Game" in the Daily News, October 12, 2012
More on "The Crime Numbers Game" , Clarion, Sept 2012
"The Crime Numbers Game" reviewed September 2012
The authors in the news on NYPD policies  Aug.17 2012
Jesse Levine: Manufacturing Low Crime Rates at the NYPD: Reputation Versus Safety Under Bloomberg and Kelly, Aug. 9, 2012 Huffington Post


The Crime Numbers Game in the news


Debate of NYPD crime statistics |


Eterno and Silverman on Public Television


Eli Silverman critiques NYPD crime statistics on New York Television


Authors quoted in The Chief July 10, 2012


Compelling collaborative evidence: 


Some Officers Felt Pressure to Alter Crime Reports: Survey - WNYC June 29, 2012


Reuters TV features John Eterno and "The Crime Numbers Game" - June 26, 2012


New York City Police Department Manipulates Crime Reports, Study Finds -  NY Times , June 26, 2012


More confirmation of Eterno and Silverman reserach.


Silverman and Eterno's latest reserach supporting the "Crime Numbers Game".


John Eterno's New York Times Op Ed, June 18, 2012


Silverman and Eterno research sited in The Chief June 15, 2012


Author's quoted in The Chief  (Part 1) (Part 2) , June 1, 2012


John Eterno quoted in The New York Times Opinion Pages May 13, 2012.


Author's comments and book made mentioned in the New York Times article, No Room for Dissent in a Police Department Consumed by Numbers, May 7th, 2012.


May 2, 2012 authors quoted in New York article, Crime Edges Up Across the City with Spikes in Every Borough, by Patrick Wall.


John Eterno is quoted in an April 4, 2012 New York Times article regarding stop-and-frisk tatics.


March 26, 2012, SIlverman and Eterno commentary is aired on ABC Local News: Investigation of Unreported Crime Statistics by Jeff Hoffer.


March 1, 2012, the authors comment on Village Blog regarding Village Voice front cover story, The NYPD Tapes by Graham Rayman.


The author's are quoted in an article by Colleen Long, Associated Press on February 23, 2012.


Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis spoke with Eli Silverman from John Jay College and the author of “The Crime Numbers Game: Management By Manipulation, regarding the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.  NY1 Online, February 17, 2012.


February 9, authors comment on their new book in a post by Alice Brennan in the The New York World.


The authors are interviewed by Doug Muzzio on City Talk, CUNY, TV, February 1, 2012.


In August 2011, Eli Silverman commented on a recent rise in NYC crime statistics in a New York Post article.


Silverman and Eterno described a proposed strategy for improving community confidence in the integrity of  crime statistics in a January 24, 2011 Daily News article.


Their work was also cited in a November 30, 2010 Uptowner article about police manipulation of crime statistics.


November 29, 2011 authors comment on Village Voice Blog in reaction to front cover article The NYPD Tapes.


The authors' studies on crime were featured in a November 1, 2010 New York Times article and their comments were published on the editorial page.


August 27, 2010 the author's are interviewed on ABC Local News.