“As Chicago endured a devastating surge in gun violence last summer, scores of people with long rap sheets stood atop the Chicago Police Department’s secret watch list,”chicago.suntimes.com reports. The Sun-Times leads with an example of a bad bad boy on the list. And then the article turns darker . . .
Nearly half of the people at the top of the list have never been arrested for illegal gun possession. About 13 percent have never been charged with any violent crime. And 20 of the 153 people deemed most at risk to be involved in violent crime, as victim or shooter, have never been arrested either for guns or violence.
So someone arrested on a drug charge (presumably) or shot qualifies for the Chicago PD’s secret “watch list” — regardless of whether or not they’ve been identified as a gang member. In fact . . .
Gang membership is no longer considered because it wasn’t very good at predicting involvement in shootings as either gunman or victim, though the police say they aren’t sure why.
The list was inspired by the research of Yale University sociology professor Andrew Papachristos (above) — who disavows its use. He told the Sun-Times that his work focuses on “identifying potential victims, not on predicting the chances someone will shoot another person.”
The Chicago PD only surrendered the list after the Sun-Times pursued them legally. The Boys in Blue insisted that “criminals could use the list to ‘thwart’ the police, even though it was based on public information, such as arrest histories.”
Bottom line: the CPD’s “watch list” is a secret list maintained by a government entity, without public disclosure of who’s on it, exactly how they’re scored, or any method for getting off the list. Just like the FBI’s “terrorist watch list” (which is actually a number of lists).
Now, consider the Windy City’s anti-gun animus and the state’s requirement for a Firearms Owners Identification Card. See any problem?