Chicago “Massaged” Crime Data to Lower Homicide Rate

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy (courtesy chicagomag.com)

Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people . . . who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.” Methinks Chicago’s being a tad naive . . .

The politicians who run the Chicago machine have a vested interest in lowering the homicide stats; the city’s Powers That Be have been fighting to forestall any notion of political accountability and, lest we forget, they’ve been working relentlessly to limit city residents’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. And speaking of naive, check out this sop to the cops.

Many officers of different ranks and from different parts of the city recounted instances in which they were asked or pressured by their superiors to reclassify their incident reports or in which their reports were changed by some invisible hand. One detective refers to the “magic ink”: the power to make a case disappear. Says another: “The rank and file don’t agree with what’s going on. The powers that be are making the changes.”

Granted, a few dozen crimes constitute a tiny percentage of the more than 300,000 reported in Chicago last year. But sources describe a practice that has become widespread at the same time that top police brass have become fixated on demonstrating improvement in Chicago’s woeful crime statistics.

(courtesy chicagomag.com)

And has there ever been improvement. Aside from homicides, which soared in 2012, the drop in crime since Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy arrived in May 2011 is unprecedented—and, some of his detractors say, unbelievable. Crime hasn’t just fallen, it has freefallen: across the city and across all major categories.

Take “index crimes”: the eight violent and property crimes that virtually all U.S. cities supply to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its Uniform Crime Report. According to police figures, the number of these crimes plunged by 56 percent citywide from 2010 to 2013—an average of nearly 19 percent per year—a reduction that borders on the miraculous. To put these numbers in perspective: From 1993, when index crimes peaked, to 2010, the last full year under McCarthy’s predecessor, Jody Weis, the average annual decline was less than 4 percent.

This dramatic crime reduction has been happening even as the department has been bleeding officers. (A recent Tribune analysis listed 7,078 beat cops on the streets, 10 percent fewer than in 2011.) Given these facts, the crime reduction “makes no sense,” says one veteran sergeant. “And it makes absolutely no sense that people believe it. Yet people believe it.”

Maybe not so many after this . . .

The pro-gun side has been attributing the now-completely discredited drop in Windy City crime stats to the liberation of residents’ gun rights. TTAG held off on that story because A) correlation does not equal causation, and B) it didn’t make any sense that incipient concealed carry would have any impact on criminal behavior. Truth be told, it will take years, maybe decades for any measurable impact to occur.

Meanwhile, the fallout from Chicagocrimestatgate should be along shortly, or not, now that the mainstream media has picked up the tale of twisted data. Here’s the suntimes.com‘s contribution to the genre.

[Chicago Police Superintendent Garry] McCarthy ordered a review of 2012 and 2013 reports of aggravated battery and assault. He also is changing the field manual for officers, so they know how to report those crimes accurately.

The audit didn’t address the way police count shooting incidents. Shootings are not included as a category in the Illinois Uniform Crime Report.

The audit also didn’t examine the classification and reporting of murders. Of the 6,260 homicides reported on the city’s data portal between 2001 and June 12, 2013, all but 19 of them were classified as first-degree murder. Nineteen were counted as involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.

Bottom line: Chicago crime is as bad as most people think it is, probably worse. Actual concealed carry will, eventually, change the city’s crime stats for the better. Well, maybe not, as Chicago politicians and violent gangs are in cahoots in that live-and-let-live kinda way you find in metropolitan areas where one-party rule leads to the breakdown of the rule of law. We shall see.

comments

  1. avatar CGinTX says:

    CompStat rides anew.

  2. avatar Peter says:

    Something dishonest occurred in Chicago??

    1. avatar Tommycat says:

      I know, right? Nobody would ever believe that there was dishonesty, collusion, corruption, or anything scandalous going on in Chicago politics.

    2. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      Eh.. New York does the same thing. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/nyc-crime-rate

      Make folks promotions and budget dependent on goal numbers, you’ll get the numbers you asked for; shoot the messenger for giving you bad news- you don’t get any more bad news.

  3. avatar michael nieto says:

    This is really scary. If Chicago is cooking their crime stats than any number the city puts out is suspect. this constitutes a irreparable breakdown of public trust

    1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      Hold on a minute. Are you saying there was any public trust left before this news broke?

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      …or this represents the Mayor’s office getting just what they wanted from Gary McCarthy, giving him free rein to use the very skills for which he was hired.

    3. avatar 16V says:

      I hate to break this to anyone, but every top 20 metro that I can think of has been caught cooking their crime stats over the last decade. Half the time, the chief won’t even deny it, I’ve seen them actually defend the practice of ‘reclassification’.

      NYC, LA, STL, CHI, DFW, and the list goes on and on. When the cops moved to ‘performance-based policing’ and started quantifying things to the point of being ISO-certified, everyone predicted this would happen. No surprise that it did. When cops are judged (read:promoted) by everything from number of ped-stops to misdemeanor and felony arrests, they’re going to start behaving to fit that metric. And they have.

  4. avatar BillF says:

    Chicago uses Bloomberg math, also known as Creative Crime Accounting.

  5. avatar Jake W says:

    They should probably start looking at any abandoned row houses for “Hamsterdam”

    1. avatar BDub says:

      Nice!

  6. avatar Roscoe says:

    Isn’t producing false, misleading and incomplete stats what unethical people who want to remain in power (like those running Chicago) do to show their bogus tales of success and achievements? What’s different is a police administration that is especially good at it. Amazing!

    So what’s different?

    Expose away.

    Thanks!

    1. avatar ShaunL. says:

      “Isn’t producing false, misleading and incomplete stats what unethical people who want to remain in power (like those running Chicago) do to show their bogus tales of success and achievements?”

      Like MDA or MAIG?

  7. avatar Nathaniel says:

    Isn’t this what the UK does with their crime stats every year?

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      Close. I’m on the fence as to whether this is more or less honest than the UK. The UK only reports convictions in their crime stats, they don’t (AFAIK) massage the charges to fit their desired results.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        The UK also does not report a crime as a murder if the victim takes a few too many days to die in hospital.

        1. avatar Mike the Limey says:

          I don’t know where this crap started but it’s a myth & easily disproved for anyone who cares to look at the truth, rather than internet drivel.
          The truth is that the UK’s violent crime rate IS double that of the US but the homicide rate IS far lower.

      2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Correct on the convictions part. The problem is they could have 1,000 homicides, but only report it as 500 homicides if only 500 people get caught and are convicted. It artificially lowers their homicide rate. In the USA, we report all homicides. That is what the FBI (and other countries) track. Not England. They wan’t to make it seem like they have fewer homicides than they really do.

    2. avatar Larry says:

      I understand that Australia has been big on this plan in attempting to demonstrate how wonderful the gun grab has been.

    3. avatar Pragtician says:

      “Amid widespread evidence of fiddling by police forces, the UK Statistics Authority withdrew its stamp of approval from the data.”

      From Jan 15, 2014 Dailymail news article.

  8. avatar Wes says:

    Banana Republic behavior in our own country. Shameful.

  9. avatar 40&2000 says:

    So now that they have CC watch the stats go “back up” to show that “more guns = more crime”

    –removes tinfoil hat.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      That’s next!

      ‘See, we were doing so well, and now that we have all these gun nuts with concealed carry, murder and mayhem are going back up.’

    2. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      THIS.

  10. I suspect similar is true for New York City, ‘The safest big city in America’.

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      Correct! Somebody here posted this link a week ago. And from HuffPo no less: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eli-b-silverman/low-crime-rates-nypd-eli-b-silverman-john-a-eterno_b_1772489.html

  11. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    if Chicago is accepting federal funds specifically to combat crime (it is), then mis-reporting such data, and frankly making explicit changes to the reports, should be investigated as a crime for theft of gov’t funds. It happens with respect to other federal gov’t funds (ie, highway grants, public works, etc), so why should there not be an criminal investigation here? Oh yeah, the DOJ has someone in power who does not adhere to the rule of law. I cannot wait until after 2016 so we can get criminal investigations going.

    1. avatar Larry says:

      Cops don’t investigate cops.

      1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

        That’s not true. They do, but it’s a lot easier since they know what the results will be before they start.

        1. avatar peirsonb says:

          “Maybe I should wait for the report to come out, read it, then remember.”

    2. avatar TT says:

      Not to mention that Mayor Emanuel has some pretty tight connections with the current administration.

    3. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      “I cannot wait until after 2016 so we can get criminal investigations going.”

      That’s a bit optimistic.

    4. avatar 16V says:

      No need to travel to the Windy City, there’s plenty of it right here in da STL.

      Seriously, been in the news for years. Dotson’s always looking for a way to make things look better, and reclassification is hugely popular downtown. Even the county plays the game, but that’s more on a District level than upper mgmt…

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Nothing surprising here. NO fallout either. In other news unemployment is 6.7percent LOL. AND 17trillion is A OK.

  13. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Who’s the 4 star with full scrambled eggs on his hat?

    The Chicago Police Chief? Probably left his medals on his other uniform, all 10 rows of them.

  14. avatar Steven says:

    +1 for all The Wire referances

  15. avatar B says:

    Taking a page from British law enforcement, eh? Do they get bonuses too for lower numbers?

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Dishonesty from the Chicago Machine?

    Inconceivable!

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      You keep using that word…

  17. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Chicago “Massaged” Crime Data to Lower Homicide Rate”

    NO, say it ain’t so…/sar

  18. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    This is the same BS they do in England. I’m shocked–shocked to find out that gambling is going on in this establishment!

  19. avatar DV says:

    Massaged Ayoob

  20. avatar Mat says:

    Chicago politics taking the UK’s Home Office approach to crime stats…

  21. avatar Patrick Hayes says:

    Below is CPD Chief Garry McCarthy’s career stats.
    Notice that he is a liberal tool and nothing more. He is a disgrace to the Law Enforcement profession. A suck butt politician.

    LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER
    New York Police Department
    McCarthy joined the New York City Police Department in 1981 at age 22. He rose through the ranks and became Deputy Commissioner of Operations in 2000. While there, he held a variety of positions around the city, was commander of several different precincts, and eventually was in charge of the NYPD’s CompStat program.

    Newark Police Department
    In 2006, McCarthy left his position with the New York Police Department to take over the Police Department of Newark, New Jersey. He was chosen for this role by Mayor CORY BOOKER, and appeared with Booker in the documentary series Brick City.

    Chicago Police Department
    McCarthy was hired by Mayor RHAM EMANUEL to take over the Chicago Police Department shortly after Emanuel’s election in early 2011.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      Sergeant, you left out the achievement highs such as drunkenly shooting out street lights in City Island, NYC, or carrying a gun in NJ without authorization and drunkenly insisting Parkway Police not ticket him or his daughter. Don’t leave the high points in the closet!

      1. avatar Patrick Hayes says:

        Thank you! I forgot about those. And those are the ones he didn’t “Badge” out of.

  22. avatar Jim Jones says:

    See The Wire.

  23. avatar Dean says:

    Data manipulation is required to promote the lies put forward by this administration and the myths they want to establish. Deceit permeates the IRS, DOJ, Chicago and NYC city governments. The mainstream media supports and promotes the lies.

    We are losing the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

  24. avatar Mike says:

    So, I guess Chicago politicians would rather let people know they massaged the numbers rather than let the credit be given to concealed carry.

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