Monday, September 22, 2014

HYPE MACHINE: Despite Assurances, Chicago Has Fewer Cops Under Rahm; 19 of 22 Districts Lose Officers

Map showing gains and losses in each of Chicago's police districts,
October 2011 vs. July 2014. (See a zoomable version HERE)
"How many murders you got?"

That was Mayor Rahm Emanuel's flip response when a Lakeview resident asked him about the 22% cut in police manpower in our 19th district.

We'll come back to that in a minute.

No doubt, you've heard City Hall, certain aldermen, and the police department itself issue endless statements about Chicago having “more police on the beat” than when Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011.

Well, that's not true and the police department’s own documents prove it.

The Numbers

This table from police documents reviewed by CWB shows the
total number of officers in the department as of October 2011,
March 2014, and July 2014. The "2011" in row 3 is a typo.
According to CWB analysis of Chicago Police Department documents secured via a reader's Freedom Of Information Act filing, Chicago had 491 fewer officers in July of this year than it had in October 2011. Translation: there are 4% fewer cops overall than in 2011.

And the number of officers assigned to districts—the number of cops “on the beat”—has fallen by 674, a loss of nearly 9%. More cops on the beat? Hardly.

How Many Murders They Got?

The department's manpower documents show that districts across the city have lost cops and only three have seen their manpower increase. (While white on our map above denotes manpower changes of ±3%, the fact is not one of the white areas is "+.")

Only one district comes close to the 22% loss in protection seen in our 19th district. And while the mayor would like you to believe that good neighborhoods are losing cops so areas that "got" murders can be protected, the numbers tell a different tale.

The South Side’s Gresham District has lost 11% of its cops since 2011.  As of mid-September, they "got" 18 murders this year.

The West Side’s infamous Austin District has lost 12% of its cops. As of mid-September, they "got" 20 murders.

Englewood? They "got" 34 murders as of mid-September. And 7% fewer cops.

We citizens have been grossly misled. There are far fewer cops on the beat, not more. The cops aren't being moved from good areas to bad ones. They're being taken away from just about everywhere, disappearing quietly as retirees and transfers are not replaced.

Residents are seeing delayed police responses to serious “in progress” incidents because the officers we do have are stretched dangerously thin—dangerous for the public and for the cops.

When you hear stories about slow police response times, don’t blame the cops. Blame the politicians who’ve been selling snake oil while letting our officers slip away.

Oh, and to answer the mayor's dismissive question. We "got" 4 murders so far this year. A 300% increase over this time last year. And we "got" 3 months to go.

  • Want to review the CPD documents? Check them out here.
  • A full-size version of the map is here.

----------
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.