Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"CONFIDENTIAL CRIMES": Robbery Of Mayor's Son Was One Of 178 Specially-Flagged Incidents Since 2007, City Exec Says

The December beating and robbery of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's son was tagged "confidential" by the city, which prevented the incident from appearing in the city's vaunted crime "transparency" site. That's the word from Tom Schenk Jr, the city's chief data officer.

CWB reported exclusively last week that the Emanuel robbery had gone missing from the city's public Data Portal, even though the web site is a cornerstone of the city's crime transparency efforts.

A total of 178 crimes were deemed "confidential" over the past eight years, Schenk said, adding that all of the crimes are now included in the Data Portal. Schenk had previously stated that 115 crimes were affected. The specially-categorized crimes should have been listed all along, he said.

Schenk spoke to open data enthusiasts Tuesday evening at Open Gov Hack Night in the Merchandise Mart.

Confidential Crimes?

Many questions beg to be asked and answered:

  • What exactly are the other 177 crimes that the city deemed to be "confidential" matters? 
  • What qualifies a crime for "confidential" status?
  • Why is there a need for "confidential" crimes? What does that status mean?
  • Are there other categories of crimes that affect the Data Portal's accuracy and government transparency?

More than 2.8 million crimes have been reported in Chicago over the past eight years, according to the Data Portal, making those 178 "confidential" matters very rare birds.

Schenk did not responded to a Tuesday afternoon email inquiry about the missing crimes, nor has he responded to a tagged Tweet from this weekend in which we sought more general information. And, the Chicago Data Portal's Tumblr moderators have not responded our "Ask Me Anything" submission.

We're looking forward to getting detailed information for you. In the interest of transparency, of course.
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  1. I hope you stay on this. No way this would get any attention unless someone like the moderators of this site were actively looking for it and pressing the powers that be for an answer. And as ultimately trivial as this may sound, we do deserve an explanation as to what crimes are too "confidential" to be acknowledged to the public.

  2. keep up the good work!

  3. I wonder if that murder over on Rush Street in 2004 wasn't also a 'confidential crime'.
    Something was rotten about that one....right?
    I mean a big dude pummels a small guy for being a loud mouth. Then he runs off and leaves the kid to die. A bunch of the big guy's pals lie to the police.
    But thank goodness that laws are laws in the fine City of Chicago.
    The big dude actually spent a couple of weeks in the pokey...a decade later.

  4. 178 seems low, its nots that big a deal, usually narcotics.

    1. We're pretty sure—but not certain—that we have identified about 100 of the incidents. No narcotics. There's a very good chance that there's a simple explanation. The city's refusal to provide one fuels suspicion, though.

  5. Some on going cases have confidential RD#'s assigned to them, no big whoop.

    1. Help us out. What do you think the explanation is for "confidential" RDs going back eight years?

    2. Pulling case files from public access goes back further than eight years.
      Seems some say they involve sensitive cases involving people with clout, connections, and currency.
      For instance, while not included in the period of time that they acknowledge concealing investigative data, case files such as the Lee Miglin homicide, committed by Andrew Cunanan, were pulled (set aside) by downtown.
      The City & CPD bent over backwards to avoid revealing information that may have been perceived as being embarrassing to The Miglins.

  6. Again, great job CWB!

  7. Well done exposing Chicago Police lies and corruption!

  8. It's not that this smells bad. Not at all.
    Thanks, and great catch CWB. Terrific work.
    For everyone who thinks this isn't significant, just read the Chicago Magazine article about how these numbers really get 'washed'. 20% of real crimes go...Poof!
    Part 2 here;

    CWB - it's worth checking see if that god-awful Veneko mess is one of these 'confidential' crimes. A murder.
    It'd be a tiny bit of dirt in that massively polluted case. But worth looking at.

  9. Chief data officer Tom Schenk = instantly discredited. Sorry Tom, you lose.

    Thanks for the all the hard work CWB!! Keep it up!!

  10. I'm curious to know what criteria makes for a "confidential" crime? Since this is Chicago, I just assume it's a cover-up, but can someone give me an example of one?

  11. While he's serving his suspension, perhaps news reader Brian Williams can look into this

    Seriously, how can some of our elected aldermen, like Tunney and Cappleman, still cling to and disseminate CPD crime data -- thoroughly discredited, misleading and outright wrong -- while ignoring the actual crime in our neighborhoods?
    If Tunney had any brains (and balls), he'd link his aldermanic website directly to CWB for real data so his ward residents, businessmen, and visitors actually had a clue about what's going on.