Sunday, February 01, 2015

SNOW JOB: A Blizzard Of Bad Crime Info From Area Politicians

Major crime stats for the week of January 19
to 25 as given in Alderman Tom Tunney's
newsletter (top) and on the CPD's own
website (bottom). 
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2, 7:32PM: The crime update in Alderman Tom Tunney's newsletter is custom created for each of the district's aldermen on a weekly basis by an officer in the 19th district.

According to multiple sources, the reports are designed to inform area aldermen and their staffs of four specific crimes—murder, rape, robbery, and burglary—that have occurred in their respective wards. The reports were not meant for public consumption. 

Going forward, the aldermanic reports will either have a corrected graph or the graph will be eliminated altogether.
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While we common folk shovel the white stuff, our aldermen and some candidates seeking their jobs are shoveling, too. But the stuff they're shoveling isn't white!

Local Alderman Tom Tunney continues to include purported 44th ward "crime statistics" in his weekly newsletter. And this week's stats are even less accurate than the ones he distributed last week.

Tunney's graph of "index crimes" shows one criminal sexual assault, three robberies, and four burglaries for the week of January 19 to 25.

But the Chicago Police Department's own website shows that Tunney didn't mention 31 index crimes that should have been included on the chart. Missing from Tunney's email are two aggravated batteries, 27 thefts, and two motor vehicle thefts.

Vanishing Act

This photo from Alderman James Cappleman's
campaign tells a story much different from the one
he intended.
Uptown Alderman James Cappleman's constituents began receiving a "tough on crime" mailer from his campaign this weekend. The photo he chose for the mailer tells a very important story itself.

There's James leaning on a squad car and talking to a big, burly sergeant. But, those numbers on top of the car start with "23"—meaning the car is assigned to the 23rd district, which ceased to exist nearly three years ago.

Indeed, the alderman's photo captures all too well what has happened on his watch: An ill-advised merger took away our police district and the new, bigger district has lost 27% of its police manpower.

Ironically, the current district's force of sergeants has been particularly hard-hit since the merger. Department records show that today's 19th district was served by 49 sergeants at the time of Cappleman's photo. Last month, only 26 sergeants remained.

We showed Cappleman's picture to some cops who currently and recently worked here. None of them recognized the sergeant as a current co-worker.

The Other Extreme

Down in Lincoln Park, 43rd ward aldermanic candidates have participated in a series of forums recently. Since their neighborhood is served by the same police district as ours, crime's an issue. But one candidate went off the deep end:

"The biggest challenge we have in the 19th [district]," Jerry Quandt told an audience last month, "is we are down more than 300 police officers."

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa, Jerry. We're down 125 officers as of last month. And let's not give anybody ideas about taking away 300. If they did, crime would really go "down."

Meanwhile, DNAInfo Chicago reports that Lincoln Park candidate Caroline Vickrey told an audience last week that, "she would implement a blog-style crime blotter with up-to-the-minute crime statistics." Sounds.......familiar.
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