Tuesday, February 17, 2015

AWKWARD: Emanuel Robbery Missing From City Crime List

UPDATE FEB 21, 2:15PM—City Chief Data Officer Tom Schenk Jr. stated via Twitter Friday that "we [identified] the issue and fixed it." The Emanuel robbery is now online with another 114 crimes that were "omitted in the past 8 years" due to the glitch, Schenk said. We have asked Schenk for more information about what caused the omission.

Needless to say, we're intrigued that the mayor's son would be affected by a SNAFU that affected just 115 of the 2,864,209 crimes reported in Chicago over the past 8 years.

CWB's original report from 9:33PM on February 17 follows.


Fresh questions are being raised today about the accuracy and transparency of crime statistics provided under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

CWB has found that the beating and robbery of Emanuel's teenage son on December 19 does not appear anywhere in the Chicago Data Portal—a city-run public web site that is supposed to be so accurate, the Chicago Police Department used its existence as an excuse to stop issuing annual reports to citizens after nearly 50 years.

Emanuel Discovery

After two armed robberies were reported in Emanuel's neighborhood this week, a CWB editor visited the city database to compare year-over-year robbery rates for that area.

Emanuel's case, HX548723, is missing from the city's crime list.
Other case numbers may be missing if they are assigned to
 non-criminal matters like traffic accidents.
He didn't get very far: "The robbery of the mayor's son was probably the highest-profile robbery in Chicago last year," he said, "Its absence screamed at me."

CWB contacted the Chicago Police Department about the missing data on Tuesday morning. No one has responded to our inquiry.

No matter how we searched the Data Portal for the Emanuel incident, it never showed up. We searched by the police case number. By street. By police beat. By crime category. Everything. It's not there.

Not The First Time

Less than a year ago, CWB reported that more than 20% of Lake View crimes were missing from the city's Data Portal over the course of a month.

Chicago magazine investigative reporters David Bernstein and Noah Isackson asked a police spokesman about the omissions in their award-winning two-part report about the manipulation of city crime stats. The spokesman called it a "glitch."

But, the Chicago Tribune and other major mainstream outlets rely on the Data Portal's information to power their own crime stat websites. When the Data Portal is wrong, bad crime stats are pushed out to the public with the seeming endorsement of, say, a 168-year-old metropolitan newspaper.

And when crime stats appear under a trusted masthead—regardless of their accuracy—politicians eat it up. Uptown Alderman James Cappleman to ABC7 this month:
Per the Chicago Tribune, since 2011 when I started office, crime has dropped over 25 percent in the 46th Ward, except in Uptown where violent crime has dropped 39 percent.
Yeah. Actually that should be "per the city-run Data Portal." The Tribune merely turns city-provided data into colorful graphics.

The City's Crime Bible

Before CWB learned that a large chunk of Lake View crimes weren't appearing in the Data Portal last year, we relied on the site while researching a story about crime rate changes in all of Chicago's 50 wards.

Four days later, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney released a police-generated report that compared reported crimes in his ward during 2003 and 2013.

With more than 10,000 crimes involved, our story's crime count varied from Tunney's by .1734% — reinforcing the point that the stats provided by the Data Portal are the same stats provided by city authorities.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

So, the question has to be asked. If the armed robbery of the mayor's own son is missing from a cornerstone of the city's crime transparency campaign, what's happening with the hundreds of thousands of other crimes that average people report?

And why on Earth should anyone believe it when politicians and police executives point to these statistics to claim that "crime is down?"

Considering that a citywide election is less than a week away, we doubt that current office holders will trip over themselves to get the crime database corrected. (If they did, the Tribune might have accurate information. James.)
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  1. In a sane world, which ceased existing many years ago, politicians would actually brag about increased crime statistics - because that means that the police are doing their jobs and crime as it occurs is being stopped or hindered. That politicians would actually work toward the opposite of that explains the world we now live in.

  2. Work in 019 but live in 012. Found out tonight at a 26th ward candidate forum that they have lost 185 officers since the merge with 013. That almost as many officers who were in 013 or a 35% drop. Ald Madonado corrected the moderator who used October 2014 data who said they were down 145, so another 40 officers vanished in 4 months. Lots of veteran cops there, so guessing some year end retirements.

  3. I wish I would win the lotto so I could constantly file freedom of information act suits to get the real story. Like why the 18 year old who mugged and beat Rahm's son is being charged as a juvi? Well we all know why.

    Screw it. Nothing will change since the same dirtbags will get voted in again. If I win the lotto Im out of here.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot: fuck you Rahm for single handedly destroying the city I loved.

    1. I agree with tht F-U to Rahm.

      Although I prefer Fioretti as a candidate...at this point I am going with "anyone but Rahm," and looks like Chuy is in 2nd place. I will vote for him as a vote AGAINST Rahm.

    2. Ditto! Rahm's clearly shown contempt for the neighborhood with his acceptance of our very dangerous and growing crime. FGS, if an assault on his own son on his own block and more attacks within blocks of his home doesn't open his eyes to take immediate action to restore the police force to sane numbers, it ain't gonna happen. He's got grander plans beyond mayor, so all his efforts are on creating positive PR for his resume building.

      Enough! Vote Tuesday .. vote for yours and your family's lives and peace of mind. Fool me once, shame on you ~~ fool me twice ... etc etc etc. Don't know Chuy's integrity/honesty but he IS promising a large # of cops. We need more cops, faster, so that's enough now for me.. And VOTE out Tommy Doofus, too~!

  4. When Rahm returns from his winter home in Costa Rica then he'll be able to address these "glitches." Give the mayor a break! He can't be everywhere!

  5. Not only that. It is widely known that many times they use theft as the classification as opposed to robbery. What a joke

  6. Was the variance actually .1734% or did you mean 17.34%. .1734% is less than one fifth of one percent.

    1. Yes, it actually was .1734% - showing that the Data Portal yields the same stats that are cited by public officials, wrong as those stats may be.

    2. Yes...they meant .1734%, Mr. Math. They were trying to point out that they were using the same stats, but that was evidently lost on you.

  7. It's a way for the rahm to make it seem as if crime is dropping in the city.

  8. Thanks for sharing. In an era of transparency it is clearly not a glitch but an omission.

  9. Folks, please EVERYONE should read that Chicago magazine article (link above).
    I really didn't understand just how and how much we're being lied to. Call me simple. But I really didn't think this was possible. Even in Chicago.
    They prove pretty conclusively: Roughly 20% of the crimes that actually occur, don't appear on the Data Portal.
    And, strangely, that number matches very closely, with what CWB finds.
    A 20% underreporting means that your chances of being a victim of crime are actually 125% of what's calculated.
    (For every 4 crimes that get reported, 5 actually happen. Hence the 125%.)

    CWB - any chance we can check to see if either of 'our guys' happened to attend the City Council questioning of McCarthy from 8/1/14 on this exact matter? I tried to find the info here: https://chicago.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. But strangely it appears to be missing! Not a joke.

  10. Same sh*t, different day.

  11. Great work, CWB.

  12. 415 says you don't know the half of it. Keep up the good work. Also less cops with more assigned non essential missions to complete (ask any copper what these are)= less arrests = less crime. I believe that's why rahmbo is against quality of life arrests. They sometimes produce guns, drugs, stolen property resulting in theft and burglary arrests causing crime to go UP..This might hurt the politburo at election time but might make your hood a little safer. Cameras don't scare bad guys away. Officers do. Then again, with your pension in jeopardy due thievery by the city and the media creating an anti police atmosphere why would the police want to do anything.

  13. Another great story from CWB. I wish everyone would read this article before deciding on who to vote for. This should be a lead story on every station in the area. Please share this one around.

  14. Trying my best to vote Rahm out Tuesday.

    Thank you, CWB, for enlightening me over the years with true statistics and crime reporting.