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I once knew a couple who divided their children’s toys into “inside toys” and “outside toys.” Their intent was simple enough: keep the Big Wheel off their carpets. The system worked about as well as could be expected: same amount of yelling, same results as you’d expect from a house without the tyrannical terminology. But the distinction made the parents feel more in control of their chaotic world. Crime classifications often serve the same purpose for their compilers (i.e. none). In Chicago, for sure. To wit: “Because the Chicago Police Department tallies data differently than police in other cities, the FBI often does not accept its crime statistics,” Wikipedia reports. “Chicago police record all criminal sexual assaults, as opposed to only rape. They count aggravated battery together with the standard category of aggravated assault. As a result, Chicago is often omitted from studies such as Morgan Quitno‘s annual “Safest/Most Dangerous City” survey, which relies on FBI-collected data.” One thing’s for sure: gun crime continues apace. Something must be done! And so Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis is doing it. Playing around with stats that is . . .

He’s creating a new category of “indoor” homicides — and downplaying what police can do about them…

“Those homicides that are outdoors — the ones that I do believe we have a good possibility of preventing — we’re around 98 homicides for Chicago outdoors. That’s as low as it’s ever been, except for 2007, when I believe we had 97 homicides outdoors as of this date,” he said.

“The ones that are outdoors we really should be able to have an impact on. … Today’s tragedy … is sad. Three people are dead. But, when it’s inside a house, it’s hard for police to have an impact on that. I wish we could. I just don’t see where we can.”

Not only is Weis making the distinction between indoor and outdoor homicides. He has asked the Chicago Police Department to keep those statistics in separate categories.

What of the distinction between gun-related and non-gun related homicides? Anyway, to its credit, the refrains from out-and-out ridicule, and dutifully presents Weiss’ numbers.

Through Monday, there were 40 indoor homicides in Chicago and 98 murders outdoors for a total of 138.

During the same period last year, there were 31 indoor homicides and 105 murders outdoors for a total of 136.

See how that works? Or, in fact, doesn’t?

“I don’t think that’s a useful distinction for the superintendent to make. I don’t think it sends the right kind of signal about the sense of responsibility we want the police to have.”

But Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), chairman of the City Council’s Police Committee, said has no problem with the superintendent’s new category of homicides.

“Outside, you have witnesses. People are more apt to call the police. Inside the house, it’s almost impossible to prevent,” Beale said.

“We want to prevent any kind of crime. We want to prevent all of ’em. But, if a person wants to do something inside a residence, it’s almost like a suicide bomber. It’s impossible to prevent somebody from blowing themselves up.”

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