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Crime Stats Called Into Question by Council Progressives

By Ted Cox | April 30, 2014 9:58am
 Police Supt. Garry McCarthy could face City Council grilling on crime statistics.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy could face City Council grilling on crime statistics.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — City Council progressives are calling for hearings on the accuracy of Police Department crime statistics.

Ald. Scott Waguespack is sponsoring a resolution, which was submitted at Wednesday's City Council meeting, calling for the hearings, backed by his allies in the Progressive Reform Caucus.

The resolution cites the recent audit on crime stats by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson and a Chicago magazine article calling the city's crime stats into question.

The resolution states that "properly collecting and utilizing accurate crime data is a fundamental and integral aspect of CPD’s critical public mission, and is necessary to effectively combat crime, and sustain public trust in law enforcement."

It goes on to say that inaccurate data "cultivates a distorted view as to the actual state of crime and victimization in Chicago" and leads to "a weakening of public confidence."

It calls on the council's Public Safety Committee to hold hearings attended by both Ferguson and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on the matter.

Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), however, withdrew his support from his progressive allies on the resolution.

"I don't want to call the superintendent out on anything," Sposato said. "It doesn't set the right tone."

McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have boasted of reductions in crime across the board, and most recently in shootings and murders.

Police spokesman Adam Collins said the department had already complied with the points made in the inspector general's audit. He also attacked the magazine piece as based on "inaccurate and unverified information" and pointed out the writers never even filed Freedom of Information Act requests on crime stats.

"The Chicago Police Department takes the tracking, compiling and reporting of crime data extremely seriously as that information informs our policing strategies and our deployment, and is shared with the public to provide an accurate understanding of crime conditions," Collins said. "We make extensive amounts of crime data available to the public online in a number of formats — which can be broken down citywide, by police district, by neighborhood and even by small areas around a specific address. We are proud that CPD is regarded as the national leader for public transparency in crime data, and appreciate that a recent inspector-general audit affirmed CPD’s CompStat system and crime data."