Some experts prefer to put their head in the sand and hope it all goes away:
“Trying to read too much into this is a grave mistake,” said Craig B. Futterman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago. “We’re all just guessing.”Really? A "grave mistake" when homicides are almost doubled compared to the same time last year? No. It's high time for everybody to give their best guess. Here's mine:
Since January, officers have recorded 20,908 times that they stopped, patted down and questioned people for suspicious behavior, compared with 157,346 in the same period last year. Gun seizures are also down: 1,316 guns have been taken off the streets this year compared with 1,413 at this time last year.And convictions in gun cases are getting hard to win:
In part, that’s because of the public’s concern over police tactics in the wake of high-profile shootings of African-Americans by police officers around the country, according to both prosecutors and defense attorneys.It's not so much as a "guess" as connecting the dots. That decrease in stops was by design:
...tied to a departmental change that took effect in January, requiring officers to fill out a far more detailed form for each one. The change was imposed after the American Civil Liberties Union raised questions about whether officers were targeting minorities in their stops.Well, of course they were. How are you going to target homicides in Chicago without a focus on minorities? Of 3,000 people shot and 506 killed in Chicago, 80 percent were black and another 15 percent hispanic. 95 percent of those killed are black or hispanic in a city that is roughly two-thirds black or hispanic.
So yeah, when it comes to preventing gun violence in Chicago, the police would be remiss if they didn't focus on minorities. And men, too (90 percent of victims). Should police stop more Polish-American women in Jefferson Park? Jefferson Park would love more police presence (if that were possible). (To my surprise, there even was a murder in Jefferson Park last year. One.)
Of last year's murder carnage just 123 suspects have been arrested. The clearance rate was 25 percent. So there's room for improvement there, too. Right now literally hundreds of active murderers are walking around the streets of the South and West Sides of Chicago. 142 murders just through March.
Look, maybe an increase in shootings in Chicago isn't related to decreasing interaction between police and criminals. Maybe there is no cause and effect between attempts to limit and control police activity against young black and hispanic men and an increase in violence among some of these same young black and hispanic men. Yes. It's a guess.
But what if aggressive policing -- and inevitably some of that will cross the line to an illegal stop or search -- actually prevents violence? What if there were a cost to a laser-like and exclusive focus on police misconduct? Reducing police stop in general is one way to reduce illegal police stops and citizen complaints. But maybe it's the wrong way. What if one consequence of focusing only on police misconduct were fewer gun convictions? What if it were more murders? (And God forbid you call this relationship something like the Ferguson Effect, because that doesn't exist.)
Hey, on the plus side, police-involved shootings in Chicago were down in 2015. Mission accomplished, I guess.
Some experts... point out that the numbers in recent years have been below those in the early 1990s, when more than 900 murders were reported some years.Wow. And so effing what?! Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations. Imagine saying we needn't worry about institutional racism because it's so much less today than it was in the 1960s (and 1860s, for that matter). Or check into a hospital where mortality is up and their response is: "Trying to read too much into this is a grave mistake. We’re all just guessing. Besides, mortality was so much greater in the past."
Also, from the fun info at heyjackass.com, Chicago saw but 7 days in 2015 without a reported shooting or homicide. Seven.
Also, on the subject of the CPD, I'm happy an insider seems to have been tapped to be the next chief of police in Chicago. I have no idea who the person is. But I'm happy it's not another outsider with no real clue coming in to save the day.