PITTSBURG (CBS SF) — While authorities in Pittsburg have been trumpeting a dramatic drop in crime over recent years, a former officer with the department claims police are downgrading some crimes and fudging their numbers.
“We know Walnut Creek is much safer than Pittsburg, but there’s a very simple way you can doctor your crime statistics,” said attorney Dan HorowitzREAD MORE: Napa Valley Grape Growers Say Dry Year Survivable But Fear Prolonged Drought
Horowitz has filed the 32-page claim on the behalf of former Pittsburg Police Lieutenant Wade Derby.
The onetime Pittsburg cop filed a wrongful termination claim against the city and claims police officers are taught and pressured to classify certain cases so they are not reported as violent crimes.
“Because it is a type of corruption; [they should] let the public see what is going on,” said Horowitz.
Compared to other nearby cities, the East Bay Times reports Pittsburg places a higher percentage of its reported crimes in a category called “suspicious circumstances,” which keeps it from being added in FBI crime stats.
“Suspicious circumstances is a case where you can’t establish a crime occurred,” said Pittsburg Police Captain Ron Raman.
When asked if the department’s police chief has given a directive to use that category, Raman replied, “I wouldn’t say it’s a directive. It’s in the uniform crime report.”READ MORE: Red Flag Warning Now in Effect for North and East Bay Hills Through Weekend
According to crime stats, Pittsburgh crime rate has taken a turnaround. In 1985, the city had 643 reported violent crimes. In 2014, the city reported 175 violent crimes.
The city now records a lower per capita FBI crime rate than Walnut Creek. When asked about the veracity of the numbers, Raman maintained the figures were correct.
“Everything you see on our website is 100 percent accurate,” said the captain.
Horowitz remains unconvinced.
“I believe reporting false statistics is a fraud,” he said. “You are luring businesses to open up in your town and people to buy houses with false stats. And that’s a type of fraud.”
But the police department says the force deserves credit for the decline in crime.
“We are proud of what we have done and we will continue to enhance that,” said Raman.MORE NEWS: Fatal Rollover Crash Closes Portion of Highway 101 in San Jose Friday Night
In response to the lawsuit, the police chief has asked the District Attorney to do an audit of the 2015 crime statistics.