Less Cops = Less (Reported) Crime

In the city’s most violent districts, police officers say, they may be assigned half a dozen jobs or more—covering everything from traffic accidents to assaults—at the start of a shift. Their watches are spent racing from call to call, while anything that requires investigation stacks up. Officers describe having to weigh whether to make an arrest. The process “downs” their car, taking it off patrol for a few hours or so, which leaves their beat uncovered and puts more pressure on their fellow officers.

Sometimes, they say, when it comes to minor offenses, they just look the other way.

via Chicago magazine – August 2012.

This is from a fairly long piece about Garry McCarthy but it’s this paragraph that struck me.

In Chicago No Report = No Crime.  You have beat cops who are overworked / overloaded they and cannot focus on the little things.  So what happens?  They let some of the little things go because they have more important — higher priority — calls already waiting for them.  When this happens the little things don’t get reported.  It’s like the crimes never even happened.

Of course Compstat is at the center of this.  It gives the Mayor and McCarthy the plausible ability to say things like, “Well overall crime is down.”

McCarthy (Rahm) Shakes-up Police Brass (Not Really)

This past week Rahm launched an ambitious plan to revitalize the city.  However in order to make that work, he must first prevent Chicago from becoming Gotham.  The post below talks about how the lack of enough police officers is causing a false reduction in the number of crimes being reported.  I personally think that Rahm and McCarthy know this. But while money’s so tight, they just have to make due until sunnier days come along.

Nevertheless, they have to maintain the appearance of doing something to stay on top of criminal element.

So along comes this story about McCarthy moving some top folks around at CPD:

With Chicago suffering a 35 percent spike in murders this year, police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced a reshuffling of his command staff Friday, replacing commanders in five of the city’s 23 districts.

McCarthy also promoted three supervisors to deputy chief positions. He said the changes were made to “strengthen the department’s ongoing efforts to reduce violence” and create a “more efficient departmental structure.”  …

A police spokeswoman said no district commanders were demoted to make way for the changes in those five districts. They replaced commanders who were promoted to other positions or retired, she said.  …

As of Thursday, there have been 114 murders this year in Chicago — up 35 percent compared with the same period last year.But department records also show that, through March 18, overall crime has dropped 10 percent throughout the city compared with the same period in 2011.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

This is not a shake-up.  A shake-up is where people are shown the door for poor performance.  People are held accountable.  …

Rahm and McCarthy know that it’s not really these folks fault.  Everyone knows that the real problem is that there’s not enough officers to go around.  This is just a PR stunt — feeding something, anything to the masses — to create the illusion that Rahm and McCarthy are taking this seriously.

Crime? What Crime?

Crime is out of control.  It’s not reported because in this town No Report = No Crime.  And because we have so few police — who are constantly running from call to call — a LOT of crime is going unreported.  Sometimes you can call 911 and wait 30-40 seconds before someone answers the phone.  But when it takes 40, or 50 minutes for CPD to arrive you get tired and get on with your life.  So many “petty” crimes simply go unreported.  e.g.

A gang member tags your garage and you just want to repaint and don’t report it… No Crime.

You get your wallet stolen on the Crime Red Line need to get to work and don’t report it… No Crime.

Your car has a smashed window and you get it fixed without reporting it… No Crime.

Dude gets stabbed and take himself to the hospital, says he cut himself shaving… No Crime.

Because of the No Report = No Crime policy of CPD, if there were no police officers there would be… No Crime.

But we know that crimes are being committed.  How?  Because we have record call volume at the 911 center.  So much so that it makes the news:

Overtime at Chicago’s 911 emergency center more than doubled during the first two months of this year, thanks to a 13.2 percent increase in call volume and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to reduce the ranks of police and fire dispatchers, records show.

Police dispatchers wracked up 10,024 hours of overtime in January and February, at a cost of $516,642, compared to 5,247 hours with a $247,662 price tag during the same period a year ago, records show.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

The wheels are falling off the bus.  Hopefully soon someone in the media will wake-up and begin really looking into this.  There’s a massive story here.