Police Commissioner William Bratton says 19 NYPD officers are facing departmental charges for allegedly downgrading crimes. NY1's Dean Meminger filed this report.

Officers in the 40th precinct reported that crime in their south bronx neighborhoods was down by 14 percent last year, but an NYPD audit discovered that wasn't true.

Police officers purposely misclassified crimes to make the precinct look safer.

Community activists from Cop Watch say they aren't surprised. 

"What they are doing is telling people in the community that crime is being controlled so people feel safe to come out into the community because they think crime is at a safe level," says Cop Watch's Jose LaSalle. 

Instead of a 14 percent decrease, the precinct actually had a 11 percent decrease in crime. 

Nineteen officers, including a lieutenant and several sergeants, have been hit with are departmental charges. 

The head of the City Council's public safety committee says false reporting could impact the number of officers placed in precincts.

"We make decisions based on resources and other factors in the police department so we have a trust that the information is shared is accurate and correct. I am very disappointed, obviously," says Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.

Out of 1,500 complaints from victims, the NYPD found 55 cases of under reporting in petty larceny, lost property, misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and trespass.

The police union quickly fired back at the NYPD charges saying lawyers will vigorously defend the 40th precinct officers, saying: “We agree that crime stats have to be accurate in order to know where and when to assign police resources. However, because of the serious shortage of police officers over the last decade and a half, management has consistently hammered police officers to reduce felonies to misdemeanors."

The commanding officer of the precinct has been transferred. 

His union says it looks forward to examining the full report. 

If found guilty at a departmental trial, the officers could lose vacation days or be fired.