By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Police Department revealed Thursday that 699 crime reports from 2016 and 2017 were downgraded to a category that meant they were not counted as official crimes and that those reports “should not have been changed.”

The department says those cases are now being “reclassified to accurately reflect their appropriate status as crimes.”

In a release from the DPD media relations unit, the department said an audit that it began in January showed 1,189 cases were changed from crime reports to “letters to detective” which are not criminal and do not count as crimes with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Of those 1,189 changed reports, the department now says “699 were determined to be crimes and should not have been changed. Since the audit, those 699 cases have been reclassified to accurately reflect their appropriate status as crimes.”

DPD said in its release it is still trying to determine why this miscategorizing occurred.

Last month, following DPD’s Jan. 12 announcement of “anomalies” in how crimes had been classified, a CBS4 investigation reported that the changed reports came primarily from District 1 in northwest Denver and District 3 in southeast Denver.

At the time, Deputy Police Chief Matt Murray said the department was looking into who changed the reports and why.

“The actions of certain individuals need to be investigated from an internal affairs standpoint and that’s what we’re going to do. We have an investigation to look at whether policy or law violations did or did not occur,” he said.

Several DPD sources told CBS4 the type of cases that were downgraded ranged from property crimes to serious crimes like assaults and other violent crimes against citizens.

Supervisory officers in the two districts in question were being queried about why so many crimes were downgraded to a status that would essentially make them invisible, and present a more positive picture of crime in Denver. In Thursday’s release, the department said its internal investigation is ongoing and that the department anticipates sending corrected data to CBI within the next week to fulfill reporting requirements.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.