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NYPD Is Still Shielding NYPD Crash Data From the Public

It's been almost six months since Streetsblog filed a freedom of information request for data on traffic crashes involving NYPD personnel. NYPD has not released the data, or given us a reason for not doing so.

Photo: ddartley/Flickr
The 2016 Mayor's Management Report says crashes involving NYPD personnel are up, but the department is hiding data that would reveal a more complete picture. Photo: ddartley/Flickr
Photo: ddartley/Flickr

The 2016 Mayor's Management Report, released this week, says crashes involving city-owned vehicles increased 10 percent from FY 15 to FY 16 -- with 5,726 crashes and 6,344 crashes, respectively. While other agencies provided the actual number of crashes involving their respective fleets, NYPD reported 3.9 collisions per 100,000 miles in FY 16, compared to 3.2 collisions per 100,000 miles in FY 15.

The per-mile figures are useful and reveal that NYPD crashes increased 22 percent -- more than other agencies -- but they don't convey the scale of what's happening. NYPD could easily provide a more complete picture by disclosing total crashes if it chose to.

Instead, NYPD has declined to tell the public and other city agencies how many traffic collisions police officers and other department staff are involved in, or the resulting costs in injuries, deaths, and property damage. Annual reports from the city comptroller's office show NYPD consistently leads city agencies in legal settlement claims, some of which stem from vehicle crashes -- a trend that continued in FY 15.

Our FOIL request, filed in March, asked NYPD for the most recent five years of department data on collisions involving NYPD vehicles, on-duty personnel, and vehicles and drivers contracted by the department. In May, about a month after we sent the FOIL, Lieutenant Richard Mantellino responded.

“Before a determination can be rendered,” Mantellino wrote, “further review is necessary to assess the potential applicability of exemptions set forth in FOIL, and whether the records can be located.”

Mantellino said the department would make a determination as to whether to honor the request within 90 days. We’ve heard nothing about it since then.

Streetsblog has asked NYPD for an update on the status of the records request.

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