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08/03/2010

Crime and Politics

  I'm not sure about the Chicago Police Department's latest statistics claiming an overall decrease in crime in the city.

  But I'm absolutely certain about what I was told by virtually everyone I talked to earlier today at the corner of Madison and Pulaski:  

  They don't believe the department's crime stats.  

  We're talking about the heart of Chicago's west side where dozens of people told me the black-on-black crime problem has grown so far beyond police control that a growing percentage of residents, if not most, don't bother calling officers to report offenses.

  At a news conference this morning Police Superintendent Jody Weis trumpeted the latest crime stats:

  "For 19 consecutive months, we've had a reduction in crime, reduction in homicides, reduction in violent crime, reduction in overall crime" reported Weis. 

  Interesting.

  Does Weis really believe that since January of 2009 until now, a period marked by the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression, Chicago's crime rate has fallen on a monthly basis?  The numbers defy the results of countless studies suggesting crime increases during periods of economic distress.

  Cameraman Ken Bedford and I conducted our unscientific survey a few minutes after we heard Weis.  Everyone we interviewed--men, women, young and old--recalled an incident during the past two years in which they were the victim of a criminal act that they did not report to the police. 

  Their reasons included fear of retaliation from gang members, distrust of the police and the general belief that the cops would be ineffective.  Some interviewees told me that they were believers in "street justice" to settle the crimes they suffered.  Imagine for yourself what that means.

  The bottom line is that unreported crimes are not counted by police and FBI statisticians.

  20 year old Hassan Brewer, who said he and a friend were the victims of an unreported attack by masked robbers in an alley recently, said Weis was using the crime stats to promote the political agenda of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

  "You know (crime) happens everywhere. You know, they gonna try to say it's not happening to make them(selves) look good", opined Brewer.

  The Mayor would not answer when I asked him earlier in the day if he thought the city was safer in 2010 than it was when he took office in 1989.  Daley surmised it was some kind of trick question (it was not) when he remarked that "You're gonna go outside and find somebody who just got shot".

  If he runs for re-election next year, hizzoner should think twice before using crime stats in his campaign literature and TV commercials.

   People in high-crime neighborhoods like the one around Madison and Pulaski aren't falling for it.

Comments

I think, Chicago is better now than before. It's got lower crime rates, so though their not releasing it, there are crimes, but few crime.

I think, the crime in Chicago is still high. I don't know why they're press releasing that, chicago's crime rate is low. Well thanks for the information, I was able to take your views.

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