Crime up, arrests down 2008 STATISTICS | Violent incidents increased, but figures show cops couldn't keep up January 17, 2009
BY FRAN SPIELMAN AND ANNIE SWEENEY Staff Reporters Chicago homicides, shootings and other violent crime are up. Arrests, gun recoveries and other indicators of police activity are down.
On Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis officially closed the book on 2008, a year that one alderman said left little to celebrate.
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Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis closed the book on 2008 Friday, a year that saw homicides, shootings and other violent crime rise. (Chris Sweda/Sun-Times)
"He's made mistakes. This is the residual effect of that. He's got good intentions. But it's hard to see anything positive about his reign," said Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers (29th).
"When you change all the commanders at once -- and don't give yourself a chance to learn from experienced people -- that gives a jolt to the system. Police officers have told me they don't feel the enthusiasm they once had. They're doing their jobs. But nothing beyond that. They don't have the confidence that he's supporting them."
Weis said Friday he believes he has a dedicated, hardworking force and that he has seen a shift recently.
Homicides are down 31 percent since Dec. 15. Shootings dropped slightly, and gun recoveries nudged up.
It's far from a trend, but Weis said it could be a sign that command changes he made last year put the right people in place.
"We know what to do, we know our domain, and we know our territory,'' Weis said. "2009 is going to be a year of results. This is a year I have to deliver. From this day forward, people are going to have to perform.''
Weis also pointed to a decline in excessive-force complaints and election night as successes. "We were on a worldwide stage that night, and it was an absolute, 100 percent success.''
As for Carothers' criticism about the staff changes, Weis said he promoted career officers capable of taking over their positions. He also noted a recent reorganization, the relaunching of specialized units and creation of a new gang unit as things that will have an impact this year.
Friday's statistics show homicides jumped 15 percent and shootings increased 17 percent in 2008. Shots-fired calls jumped 33 percent; gang disturbance calls went up 18 percent.
At the same time, police made 12 percent fewer overall arrests and 15 fewer felony arrests. Police responses were down 21 percent for gang loitering and 38 percent for gang narcotics loitering. Cops recovered 4 percent fewer guns.
Weis said the increase in the calls for service show the community is placing more trust in the police. As for the drop in arrests, Weis said his first priority is getting crime numbers down. "I'd trade no crime for 10,000 arrests.''
Carothers first raised questions on crime statistics last summer when he put the $310,000-a-year police superintendent on the City Council hot seat to explain a surge in violent crime that boiled over at Taste of Chicago when four people were shot.
He asked Weis about what he called "de-policing," a condition that exists when officers "stop doing their jobs" because they're afraid nobody has their back.
Weis acknowledged that police officers were being less aggressive as violent crime rises for fear of piling up citizen complaints.
In fact, on Friday, Weis reported a 13 percent drop in excessive force complaints. Search warrant complaints also are down.
Weis attributed that to training and education from the new Bureau of Professional Standards -- not to less-aggressive officers. Related Blog Posts Why You Don't Want To Room With Charlie Weis
Bitch 2 says : Jody don't you get it we are done. Boy's and Girl's just answer your calls , lock people up only when you have too and maybe write a parker a day. I dont know about you but Im not making Weis look good. What does Jody mean that "people are going to have to perform " is he now threating us !!!!! Im so sick of this city
We are BITCHES IN BLUE. Not like that is a bad thing. We are strong women, with a fierce love for "the job", a fierce love for family, a fierce loyalty for our friends, and a fierce respect and loyalty for our brother's and sister's in blue. We are patriot's, we are warrior's. We are strong women, that fight the good fight everyday. We believe in truth, justice and the American way. We love our country, we love our job, and most importantly we stand for integrity, truth and reality. We are not women that have sat behind a desk our whole career's, we have fought the noble fight on the streets along side our partner's throughout our career's. We fight for life, liberty and the American way. Right is RIGHT.
Yes we are hot, yes we are beautiful, yes we are the police and most importantly YES we are American's.