Bureaucratic insecurity through arrest warrants

James Q. Wilson describes a classic example of “gaming the numbers” in his book Bureaucracy. Under J. Edgar Hoover, FBI agents were under pressure to produce ever-rising numbers of arrests, recoveries of stolen goods, and so on. To meet their goals, they began to ask local police departments for lists of stolen cars that had been found—so they could claim them as recoveries. To increase the numbers of fugitives they apprehended, they began concentrating on military deserters, who were far easier to find than normal criminals. By the 1970s, U.S. attorneys were declining to prosecute 60 per cent of the cases the FBI presented, often because they were so trivial.

My two cents

English: J. Edgar Hoover, head of the U.S. Fed...
English: J. Edgar Hoover, head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1961. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That is so insecure. I hate it when organisations drum up fake numbers that aren’t really important (like conjuring up a number of arrests per month) and then expecting their employees to pull rabbits out of a hat like that.

Quote source

Osborne, D & Gaebler, T (1992). Reinventing government : how the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. Reading: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. p. 157.


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