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Chicago Police Department Underreported Aggravated Assaults In 2012

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 8, 2014 4:40PM

Photo Credit: Jeff Belcher
Monday’s report from Chicago magazine on how the Chicago Police Department allegedly classifies some major crimes as lesser ones to give the appearance the number of major violent crimes has dropped was only the tip of what is shaping up to be a very large iceberg.

We mentioned an audit from the Office of the Inspector General that revealed CPD underreported the number of aggravated assaults and aggravated battery victims that happened in Chicago in 2012. We’ve embedded a copy of the OIG report in this post and the numbers won’t make anyone already disconcerted about CPD’s alleged systemic cooking of the books any happier.

The audit focused on a small sample of the 83,480 assault-related incidents reported by CPD to the Illinois State Police (383, to be exact) and found a quarter of aggravated assault and aggravated battery victims were not reported. Seventy-two incidents had a combined 95 victims.

CPD officials said the Illinois State Police changed the way aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries were reported was changed in 2010 from counting “incidents” to counting victims. Based on that sample, 24 percent of the aggravated assault and aggravated batteries were not reported. CPD allowed they had been reporting incidents instead of victims since the change went into effect, meaning CPD may have been underreporting these numbers for years before it was brought to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's attention last year.

McCarthy has since ordered reviews of the 2012 and 2013 numbers and ordered changes to officers’ field manuals so that aggravated assault and aggravated battery incidents are correctly recorded. CPD officials blamed the mistakes on McCarthy’s predecessor, Jody Weis, who they say failed to change the way aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries are tracked.

The OIG report reads there is no indication the Police Department intentionally misled State Police officials in their reporting of assault and other major crime incidents and that McCarthy’s fast response to the audit is an encouraging sign of an organization seeking to improve.”

“We caution, however,” Inspector General Joseph Ferguson added, “that what is reported out is only as reliable as what is fed into the system from the field. Public confidence in crime statistics therefore also depends on the accuracy of field reporting, which we did not test.”

OIG Crime Stats Audit by Chicagoist