WBEZ | Police http://www.wbez.org/tags/police Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gary looks for answers as slain police officer is remembered http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gary police 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Retired Gary police officer Kenneth Shannon has attended a lot of funerals over the years. Some of his fallen comrades died in car accidents and others were killed by gunfire.</p><p>Today, Shannon watched from a balcony seat in a downtown convention center as dozens of law enforcement officers walked passed a closed casket of Gary Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield &ndash; the latest to die in the line of duty.</p><p>&ldquo;He was a very personable person. A well-liked guy,&rdquo; Shannon said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a tragedy that someone would think of doing something like this to an officer.&rdquo;</p><p>That something occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 6th &ndash; the very day Westerfield was to celebrate his 47th birthday.</p><p>The 19-year veteran responded to a call near 26th and Van Buren, only a couple of blocks from Michael Jackson&rsquo;s boyhood home. He was later found dead of a gunshot wound, sitting in his police cruiser about 5:30 a.m.</p><p>The death rocked a city that is no stranger to gun violence. And now some are asking if Gary has enough resources to protect not just its citizens &ndash; but its own cops.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s bad everywhere but the city is basically safe. You&rsquo;ve got a group of thugs that want to do what they want to do and there&rsquo;s nothing you can do about it.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, that doesn&rsquo;t mean the city isn&rsquo;t trying.</p><p>Gary officials want to boost patrols, but with a dwindling tax base there&rsquo;s not much money to go around. The city, once one of the largest in the state, is down to less than 80-thousand residents. It&rsquo;s not even the largest in Lake County, Indiana.</p><p>Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter says he&rsquo;s hoping to divert resources from the county level to help.</p><p>&ldquo;Gary obviously needs the assistance and you see our community being so aggressive with crime. You see it in Chicago too, but I think it goes back to parenting and kids and now we&rsquo;re paying the price for it,&rdquo; Carter said.</p><p>Longtime Gary City Councilman Roy Pratt also says Westerfield&rsquo;s death raises questions about police patrol tactics.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not so much manpower but we&rsquo;ve got to have more on the evening shift. He was alone by himself,&rdquo; Pratt said.</p><p>The City&rsquo;s Mayor, Karen Freeman Wilson, says she&rsquo;ll soon talk with the county sheriff&rsquo;s department about beefing up patrols. And she may ask Indiana Governor Mike Pence to assign state police to help as well.</p><p>She asked twice last year and was rejected both times. Although the Governor&rsquo;s office provided training and offered suggestions on improving the city&rsquo;s 227-member police force.</p><p>&ldquo;Of course today is for the family but tomorrow is really for us to analyze of what&rsquo;s going on and how we can do better,&rdquo; Freeman-Wilson said at today&rsquo;s funeral.</p><p>Some would say it&rsquo;s hard to do much better than an officer like Jeffrey Westerfield.</p><p>Dean Hensley lived on the same block as Westerfield in the Black Oak neighborhood. He says it was important to his fallen friend to live where he worked.</p><p>&ldquo;Jeff didn&rsquo;t have a hard job. Jeff was the kind of guy that could walk into any situation and defuse it in a heartbeat. He could turn a tragedy into a blessing,&rdquo; Hensley said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just going to have to go on with life and remember him. Now, we have another angel watching over us.&rdquo;</p><p>Officer Jeffrey Westerfield leaves behind four daughters, a son and a fiance.</p><p>A person of interest is being held with criminal charges possibly coming soon.</p></p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 Morning Shift: Should knowledge of police abuse be public domain? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-14/morning-shift-should-knowledge-police-abuse-be-public <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr Mite Kuzevski.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We wrap up our GOP gubernatorial candidate check-ins with State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. Also, the right of the public to know when it comes to police misconduct. And, comedian W. Kamau Bell.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-knowledge-of-police-abuse-be/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-knowledge-of-police-abuse-be.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-knowledge-of-police-abuse-be" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Should knowledge of police abuse be public domain?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-14/morning-shift-should-knowledge-police-abuse-be-public Teens learning radio skills in Chicago police program http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 <p><p>A pair of police officers on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side are helping teens learn radio production in an effort to keep them off the streets and improve their views on cops.</p><p>The program in the Englewood neighborhood fits with a push by Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy to improve the relationship between police officers and the people they serve.</p><p>It is called the 7th District Youth Anti-Violence Media Program. It introduces teens to the ins and outs of radio production, and gives them a chance to get on the air.</p><p>The classes are held three days a week at Kennedy-King College. The broadcasting instructors there pitch in to teach the kids.</p><p>The program was started by Daliah Goree-Pruitt and Claudette Knight, both community policing (or CAPS) officers. The two started out as beat cops. Now they are in charge of neighborhood outreach, counseling crime victims, and running community meetings &nbsp;in a neighborhood struggling with some of the highest crime rates in the city.</p><p>The two had a lot to do already. Knight and Goree-Pruitt also do a weekly food give-away and hand out turkeys before Thanksgiving. On the Saturday before Christmas, they gave away toys at the station house located at 1438 W. 63rd Street.</p><p>But 7th District Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz came to them last spring with a new task.</p><p>&ldquo;He was like, &lsquo;Think of something that we can do for the kids,&rsquo;&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt said.</p><p>Schmitz was worried about the summer then coming up, when hot temperatures and idle teens could contribute to a spike in violent crime.</p><p>Knight said they wanted to do something new.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, something different, some other added activity because you always hear basketball, baseball, but not all kids are sports-inclined,&rdquo; Knight said.</p><p>They wanted to do a swim program, but they could not get the funding. Goree-Pruitt said the only thing the department had money for was t-shirts for the participants. So Goree-Pruitt and Knight needed partners.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CAPS%202%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 272px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Jamar Houston of WKKC teaches Jermaine Robinson how to DJ. (WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></div><p>Kennedy-King College, about a mile west of the 7th District station, has a broadcasting department and its own radio station, WKKC. Knight said it was the &ldquo;perfect opportunity.&rdquo; They approached the college and got the OK.</p><p>So all they needed were students. This turned out to not be easy. The two went personally to high school principals in the area, asking them to recommend students for the program&hellip; and they got almost no response. Then they asked area pastors - again, nothing.</p><p>So Goree-Pruitt and Knight just started approaching random kids on the street and around the neighborhood.</p><p>That&rsquo;s how Genavie Clark heard about it.</p><p>&ldquo;One day [I was] sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and all the officers were sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and Officer Goree came up to my table and she told us about the radio program. So I signed up for it,&rdquo; Genavie said.</p><p>Ultimately, the two got 20 teens of high school age for that first summer class, and it went so well they did a smaller after-school version this fall.</p><p>The program gets by mostly on the power of Goree-Pruitt and Knight&rsquo;s charisma, which is considerable. But these two career cops know nothing about radio production, and they do not have any money to pay instructors.</p><p>So the students learn mostly by observing WKKC in action.</p><p>The kids are exposed to a lot of the skills that go into producing a radio show: hosting, logging tape, mixing audio - even DJ-ing.</p><p>Station manager Dennis Snipe comes in every once in awhile to talk to the students about diction and public speaking, the assistant program director lets them look over her shoulder while she logs tape, and the hosts give them pointers during music breaks.</p><p>The summer classes were from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so the students had to be fed. The owner of a shopping plaza across the street from the station donated Subway sandwiches.</p><p>So it&rsquo;s a nice story. But at first glance, none of it seems much like police work.</p><p>Knight disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about community interaction, because the youth especially, most of their interaction with the police is negative. So if you start introducing a positive interaction at a teenage level, then they start to view us in a different way,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>WBEZ ran a story on Dec. 23 about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425">police legitimacy training: thousands of Chicago cops re-learning how to best interact with the people they serve.</a></p><p>Efforts such as the radio program and legitimacy training fit with Superintendent McCarthy&rsquo;s priority on what he calls a return to community policing.</p><p>A recent study by Yale criminologist Andrew Papachristos found that Chicago in 2013 has had its lowest violent-crime rate in the past three decades. McCarthy credits community policing with a decrease in crime.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt believes it&rsquo;s part of her job to connect with people.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel like I can help these kids. I may not help all of them, but the ones that I can help, they&rsquo;ll know the police department just don&rsquo;t lock kids up,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Besides teaching them how to produce a radio show and to like cops, the officers use the class as a way to help the students deal with their own issues. They talk to the students about resolving conflicts, safe sex, and staying out of trouble.</p><p>Before they start the radio lessons, the students gather around a round table in a small windowless room across from the WKKC studios.</p><p>One of the girls is talking to Goree-Pruitt about problems she is having with her stepmom. She says her dad is getting a divorce, and he blames her.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt councils her on being the mature one, even though her stepmom is the adult.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had the same issues, having two parents to living with just my mom, to my mom getting remarried, to my mom getting rid of all four of her daughters to be with this new husband, to my dad raising four daughters by himself. So I am no different from you all. Like I tell you all, because we&rsquo;re the police doesn&rsquo;t mean that we&rsquo;re not human,&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt told them.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt and Knight look tougher than they sound, and they both spent time on the beat, dealing with high-stress situations. But they also have families of their own, so maybe it is not surprising that they connect so well with teens.</p><p>&ldquo;When I come here it just, all my stress just goes away,&rdquo; freshman Wattsita Henley said.</p><p>The fall class, which ended earlier this month, was five high schoolers, three girls and two boys, and most did not seem like the types police really need to worry about.</p><p>Freshman James Cross Jr. said the closest he has ever gotten to drugs is seeing weed in a bag at school.</p><p>&ldquo;One of my friends showed me a bag, and I don&rsquo;t know why but I just started laughing,&rdquo; James &nbsp;told the group.</p><p>The other boy, Jermaine Robinson, has gotten into some trouble in the past.</p><p>He left Englewood to live with his grandmother in suburban Hazel Crest for a few years. &nbsp;He said he came back because it was just too quiet out there.</p><p>Robinson is about to start at Winnie Mandela, an alternative high school in the South Shore neighborhood.</p><p>He likes working with his hands, so he is trying to learn how to DJ.</p><p>His ultimate goal is to be a computer engineer.</p><p>&ldquo;Because like, when I was in 5th grade we did a program, and I earned a computer and I was taking it apart and putting it back together and stuff like that,&rdquo; Jermaine said.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt said she is not worried about what type of kids they are reaching, adding that she is just glad to be reaching any.</p><p>&ldquo; All I can say is that you touch one you reach another one, because they&rsquo;ll tell, they&rsquo;ll tell their friends.&rdquo;</p><p>The next radio class starts in January.</p><p>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 Neglected rape kits require Cook County victims to recount assaults http://www.wbez.org/news/neglected-rape-kits-require-cook-county-victims-recount-assaults-108479 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/robbins.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office wants victims of as many as 201 unsolved rapes in south suburban Robbins to come forward and tell their stories, again.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because Robbins police didn&rsquo;t properly investigate them the first time.</p><p>Earlier this year the Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office discovered 201 rape kits - dating back to 1978 - in a disorganized evidence locker in the Robbins police station.</p><p>One-hundred-and-fifty of the rape kits had been analyzed by state police, but Robbins police never conducted any further investigation. The other 51 hadn&rsquo;t even been sent to the state crime lab for testing.</p><p>&ldquo;Nationally the issue of untested rape kits is a big one &hellip;. But what we&rsquo;re talking about here is something more challenging. This department had sent in the kits but then never worked the results,&rdquo; sheriff spokeswoman Cara Smith said.</p><p>Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward and police Chief Melvin Davis took over in May, about two months after the rape kits were found. At a press conference yesterday they stressed that the neglected rape kits were failures of past administrations, and did not reflect on their leadership.</p><p>Davis said he has replaced a quarter of the village&rsquo;s police department.</p><p>After he was hired, Davis said he conducted interviews with all of the officers, and determined that six of the 24 patrol officers weren&rsquo;t suited for the job. He also brought in new leadership.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve established a new command staff and we are making sure that all safeguards are in place to make sure this never happens again,&rdquo; Davis said.</p><p>Ward also promised that the underlying issues that led to the rape kits being neglected had been addressed. But he stopped short of promising more resources for the beleaguered police department.</p><p>&ldquo;You shouldn&rsquo;t work based on your salary, you should work based on your heart,&rdquo; Ward said.</p><p>Right now, the town of about 5,400 residents has two full-time officers - in addition to the command staff - and 24 part timers.</p><p>Davis said they are planning to transition three more officers into full-time roles.</p><p>The uninvestigated rape kits were discovered in March after a probe by the Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s office took over the investigations and now is asking for help solving the sexual assaults the kits are tied to.</p><p>Smith said the condition of the kits was so bad that at least seven are water-damaged and unusable. And she said there are police reports for &ldquo;very few&rdquo; of the rape kits.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why she pleaded with victims to come forward to help investigators piece together what little information they have.</p><p>&ldquo;We may in some cases need to put together the case from the very beginning,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p>Smith said the sheriff&rsquo;s office is pleased with the steps the new Robbins administration has taken. As for the old administration, she said in the six months since the rape kits were discovered she has never heard an explanation for how the kits went ignored.</p><p>&ldquo;In some of these cases we may be left saying [to the victim], we don&rsquo;t have an explanation for why it happened, but today we believe you and we&rsquo;ve done everything we could to try and bring justice to you,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;&rsquo;s office and the office of the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s are both trying to figure out a way to bring charges in the old sexual assault cases. The statute of limitations has run out on most of them.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s nuances in the law depending on the age of the victim, the age of the crime, if DNA was uploaded, &ldquo; Smith said. &ldquo;So we have to kind of put those pieces together for each one of these, but we are certainly going to have cases where we can&rsquo;t bring charges, and that&rsquo;s a crime in and of itself.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/neglected-rape-kits-require-cook-county-victims-recount-assaults-108479 Morning Shift: Getting the band back together http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-08/morning-shift-getting-band-back-together-108333 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/microphone-Flickr- ceratosaurrr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For this week&#39;s &quot;Music Thursday&quot;, Richard Steele and Sound Opinions&#39; Robin Linn play tunes from some of their favorite bands who reunited and brought the hits (and misses) back to the fans.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-39.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-39" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Getting the band back together" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-08/morning-shift-getting-band-back-together-108333 Chicago's top cop makes arrest http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-top-cop-makes-arrest-104641 <p><p>Chicago&#39;s police superintendent is apparently not content urging his officers to make more arrests.</p><p>Early Tuesday morning, Superintendent Garry McCarthy helped arrest a 23-year-old Chicago man on felony weapons charges.</p><p>McCarthy was on patrol with officers from the Austin District on the city&#39;s West Side when during a traffic stop of a vehicle he helped find a gun. Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton says that a man in the car, identified as Montrez Armstead was arrested and charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.</p><p>Stratton says that McCarthy and other members of the department&#39;s command staff routinely go out on patrol.</p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-top-cop-makes-arrest-104641 Sex-assault case dropped against ex-NIU officer http://www.wbez.org/news/sex-assault-case-dropped-against-ex-niu-officer-104068 <p><p>SYCAMORE, Ill. &mdash; Charges have been dropped against a former Northern Illinois University police officer accused of sexually assaulting a student in October 2011.</p><p>The case had been plagued by questions over whether the NIU police department intentionally withheld information that might have aided the former officer&#39;s defense.</p><p>Prosecutors decided to drop the charges after hearing testimony Tuesday that raised further questions over the police department&#39;s handling of the case.</p><p>The <a href="http://bit.ly/X01BGm" target="_blank">(DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports</a> that a computer forensics expert testified that the police department&#39;s chief had him remove files from his laptop.</p><p>A lawyer for former officer Andrew Rifkin praised the decision to drop the case and insisted his client was innocent.</p><p>A student accused him of sexually assaulting her at his apartment.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 12:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sex-assault-case-dropped-against-ex-niu-officer-104068 Activists marching against police abuse in suburban North Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-marching-against-police-abuse-suburban-north-chicago-103783 <p><p>Activists, attorneys and politicians are planning to march against police violence and abuse in a suburb north of Chicago Saturday. The march is intended to put pressure on the North Chicago Police Department, which has seen a number of scandals in the last year. One of those involved the case of Darrin Hanna who was beaten by police during an arrest and died a week later. &nbsp;More recently, the former police chief in North Chicago was charged with stealing money police had seized in drug cases.<br /><br />Attorney Stephen Potts is planning to march Saturday. He&rsquo;s suing the city on behalf of an 11-year-old who says last year Officer Casimir Rincon came to his school and handcuffed him and shoved him against some lockers in retaliation for an altercation between the boy and the officer&rsquo;s child.<br /><br />&ldquo;When you have officers that can do what they want whenever they want, they&rsquo;re going to do it,&rdquo; said Potts. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re going to push it to the extremes, to the extremes of handcuffing an 11-year-old kid. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s where it is now. That&rsquo;s how far it&rsquo;s gotten.&rdquo;<br /><br />North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham says the city has talked to students, parents and teachers about the incident at the school but still doesn&rsquo;t know what happened. But Rockingham says his police department has been actively discipling officers, firing one in the last year, in addition to suspending the police chief charged with stealing cash taken in drug seizures. He says he and the new police chief, a lieutenant, an Human Resources representative and a citizen now review every incident in which police use force.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-marching-against-police-abuse-suburban-north-chicago-103783 Chicago Crime Commission calls for 1,400 more cops http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-crime-commission-calls-1400-more-cops-102671 <p><p>There are many ideas swirling from aldermen, religious leaders and community groups about how to address gang violence. The Chicago Crime Commission joined the conversation Tuesday with their own recommendations, which quickly garnered the support of the Fraternal Order of Police.</p><p>The commission&#39;s plan is twofold: First, they want the city to hire 1400 more police officers immediately. According to members, their calculations came from comparing the number of sworn officers working in patrol operations with the number of established beats and norms for police patrol manpower across the country.&nbsp;</p><p>Second, they said the&nbsp;US District Attorney and the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney should help train Chicago police to prosecute armed gang members under federal laws.&nbsp;</p><p>Commission board member Peter Bensinger says they want gang members locked up in federal prisons.<br /><br />&quot;It&rsquo;s a different story. It&rsquo;s different time, harder time, further away from their cohorts and their gangs,&quot; Bensinger said.&nbsp;<br /><br />As for how to fund this plan, Bensinger and other members say that&#39;s not their job. &nbsp;</p><p>&quot;The Crime Commission here is not going to respond to &#39;how do you address the payroll or the budget problems for these additional policemen&#39;. That&#39;s up to the mayor, the city council and our greater community. And we wouldn&#39;t be doing our job if we had to comment on how many police officers can you afford,&quot; Bensiger said.&nbsp;</p><p>Pat Camden, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, said he thinks Chicagoans would be willing to foot the bill for the commission&#39;s plan.&nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;It becomes an issue that &lsquo;we&rsquo;re not going to raise property taxes, we&rsquo;re not going to do this.&rsquo; By not raising property taxes, put us in this situation to begin with,&quot; Camden said.&nbsp;<br /><br />Camden said he supports the Crime Commission&rsquo;s recommendation wholeheartedly.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 05:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-crime-commission-calls-1400-more-cops-102671 Long Hot Summer: Understanding the crime stats fueling Supt. McCarthy and his long-term strategy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-understanding-crime-stats-fueling-supt-mccarthy-and-his-long-term <p><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6903820882_8b7dd3dce4_z.jpg" title="Stop The Violence mural on the 1800 Block of North Drake Avenue. (Flickr/Jeff Zoline)" /></div></div><div><em>Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate. And, it seems, summer after summer, we talk about the need for whole families, better education, jobs and police boots on the ground&mdash;yet, the cycle continues. This year, </em>Afternoon Shift<em> hopes to move beyond the headlines in hopes of better understanding the violence&mdash;it roots and possible remedy&mdash;through frank, forward-thinking, holistic conversations in a series we&rsquo;re calling, </em>Long Hot Summer.<br /><div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53072108&amp;auto_play=true&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ff7700" width="100%"></iframe></p></div>Police superintendents weren&rsquo;t always slaves to crime statistics, but CompStat changed all that. The system, which collects data on everything from curfew violations to murder, generates reports on crime trends within a geographic area. Once the numbers are crunched, ranking officers are called to the carpet to field questions from their command staff and chief, who will undoubtedly be probed on the numbers by the mayor &mdash; and citizens &mdash; of the city he&rsquo;s been charged to protect.</div><p>The system came into vogue in the mid-1990s after New York City&rsquo;s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, implemented CompStat to increase accountability in the department. During Bratton&rsquo;s roughly two-year tenure, the murder rate halved. And so, when Bratton left, CompStat and its emphasis on accountability remained. Garry McCarthy was a captain in Bratton&rsquo;s army at the time and made a name for himself at Bratton&#39;s CompStat meetings. Soon enough, he was running them.</p><p>Crime statistics have been the sharpest tool in McCarthy&rsquo;s belt as he&rsquo;s crafted a once unimaginable career. Before coming to Chicago, McCarthy was the top cop in Newark, New Jersey, where he helped reduce the murder rate by roughly a third.</p><p>Supt. McCarthy and his meteoric career are <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2012/Garry-McCarthy-Under-the-Gun/" target="_blank">profiled</a> in a piece by Noah Isackson the August issue of <em>Chicago </em>magazine. All eyes are on the superintendent as he combats the immediate concerns of a rising murder rate with a long-view strategy. He&rsquo;s also battling a broader misinterpretation of the numbers, according to crime expert <a href="http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/TMeares.htm" target="_blank">Tracey Meares</a>. She says it&rsquo;s inaccurate to say that Chicago is dangerous&mdash;because the city as a whole is not dangerous.</p><p>That said, Meares explained that the city, specifically areas of high crime like police districts 11 and 7, are incredibly dangerous, lethal even, for a select network of people. Meares pointed to the work of one of her frequent collaborators, Andrew V. Papachristos to sharpen the point. In 2011, the sociologist wrote a piece called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.papachristos.org/Publications_2_files/The%20Small%20World%20of%20Murde_v8_10dec.pdf" target="_blank">The Small World of Murder</a>,&rdquo; wherein he explained that 70 percent of the homicides in the 11<sup>TH</sup> Police District occurred in a network consisting of only 1,500 people, all with criminal records. For people in this network, the odds of being a homicide victim is 30 out of every 1,000 people. To further underline his point, Papchristos pointed out that the risk of stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan is less than 10 out of 1,000&mdash;meaning it is safer to walk around a real war zone than it is for young men in this network to walk around West Garfield Park.</p><div>&nbsp;<p>&nbsp;</p><p>So then what is the risk for West Garfield Park&rsquo;s other 80,000 residents? When the network is removed, the odds drop to 1 in 1,000. Meares says this context is imperative to understanding crime statistics and McCarthy&rsquo;s long-term strategy, which is bolstered by Meares&rsquo; ideas about legitimacy. The Yale Law School professor is helping Chicago&rsquo;s police chief craft his strategy and train his troops. She joined <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to share her sage advice for fighting crime in Chicago.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 16 Jul 2012 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-understanding-crime-stats-fueling-supt-mccarthy-and-his-long-term