Morning Edition: IG Audit says NOPD misclassified rape cases

The NOPD fired back at a New Orleans Inspector General report that finds the department failed to classify forcible rape cases properly.

The audit found, in some instances, the department called the cases sexual battery, miscellaneous offenses or unfounded, rather than forcible rape.

This is the first time the Inspector General's office looked at the NOPD's cases of forcible rape and Ed Quatrevaux said it won't be the last.

His office took a sampling of 90 forcible rape cases between June of 2010 and May of last year.

Of those 90 cases, Quatrevaux says 41 were misclassified as miscellaneous, unfounded or sexual battery, a lesser crime that does not get reported to the FBI's Uniformed Crime Report program.

As a result, Quatrevaux said, New Orleans had a 43% lower rate of forcible rape than 24 other cities with the highest crime rates.

But Quatrevaux doesn't believe what the audit finds the NOPD did was intentional.

"I don't really think anyone's manipulated the numbers to make them go up or go down," Quatrevaux said. "I'm not sure which is better. There's no indication of that but we've got a lot of human beings involved over a three year period and people make mistakes and they also behave as they're expected to behave in the environment in which they've grown."

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas disagreed with the reports and says his department underwent a number of audits since he took office in 2010.

In a statement Serpas said, "Each review has failed to show any pattern or practice on the part of NOPD to downgrade the reporting of crime."

Quatrevaux said the misclassification wouldn't affect how crimes were investigated or prosecuted but it's important for people to know the real data for New Orleans.

Click here to read the report.

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