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Morgan Park Police District Staffing Among The Lowest In City

By Howard Ludwig | April 18, 2017 6:00am | Updated on April 19, 2017 9:19am
 Morgan Park District ranked fourth from the bottom in manpower assigned to the 22 police districts throughout the city, according to data released Monday.
Morgan Park District ranked fourth from the bottom in manpower assigned to the 22 police districts throughout the city, according to data released Monday.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — The Chicago Police Department's Morgan Park District had 271 sworn officers as of Feb. 21 — fourth from the bottom in terms of dedicated manpower.

Only the Jefferson Park, Lincoln, Albany Park and the Shakespeare districts had fewer sworn officers, according to report released Monday by Chicago's Office of Inspector General.

Overall, Chicago has 12,051 police officers, city watchdog Joseph Ferguson reported. Sworn officers, those assigned or detailed to specific districts, numbered 7,251 or 60.2 percent. Officers detailed to special units numbered 4,800 or 39.8 percent.

The Harrison District on the city's West Side had the most sworn officers, with 462. The Shakespeare District on the North Side had the fewest number of officers, with 243, according to the report.

The staffing numbers seem to reflect the number of crimes reported by each district, according to the city's data portal. For the one-year period from Feb. 21, 2016, to Feb. 21, 2017, 8,564 crimes were reported in the Morgan Park District — also fourth from the bottom throughout the city.

The Albany Park and Rogers Park districts had fewer crimes reported during this time, and the Lincoln District had the fewest overall crimes reported at 4,421 for the same one-year period. The Harrison District had the most crimes reported, at 18,384.

The Morgan Park District also ranked fourth from the bottom, with 20.1 officers police per square mile. The Austin District has the most police per square mile at 91.7. The Jefferson Park District had the least police per square mile with 8.4.

The only significant ranking where the Morgan Park District placed anywhere other than fourth from the bottom is in terms of population. The most recent numbers are from 2010, but that count showed that the Morgan Park District had 101,941 residents — placing it somewhere in the middle of the 22 total police districts throughout the city.

The Chicago Lawn District had the largest population, with 247,373 people, and the Wentworth District had the smallest population with 37,668 people.

Margot Burke Holland, executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association, wasn't surprised by the numbers. She encouraged Beverly area residents to continue to call 911 as the figures seemingly show a link to crimes reported and assigned manpower.

"There is a hesitation to call the police. People have a perception that they are needed elsewhere more than they are needed here," Holland said.

Police "want you to help them. That's the real partnership," Holland said. "You are not a bad person for calling the police."

She also said there is a commonly held notion that officers assigned to Beverly and Mount Greenwood are often pulled away from these areas to deal with more pressing situations elsewhere.