According to a report released by the office of the New Orleans Inspector General (OIG), the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) 8th District reclassified or misidentified 177 thefts in the French Quarter between Jan. 1 and July 31.
Each of the 177 incidents stemmed from victims having "lost" their wallets or purses, which does not constitute a crime. Those same victims later had unauthorized charges on their credit cards or debit cards, which constitutes theft. Those incidents were classified as "Signal 21 (Miscellaneous)" or "Signal 21L (Lost or Stolen)," but not "Signal 67 (Theft)." By not classifying them as thefts, it prevents the crimes from being figured into the FBI's crime rate statistics.
Police Chief Ronal Serpas said beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the department will begin a new policy with "clear guidelines for documentation and review," and that "controls have been included to require follow-up investigation for the purpose of assessing if there has been possible criminal activity associated with the loss subsequent to an initial report being filed."