1/09/2017

At Real Clear Policy: "Chicago's Bloody Mess"

My  new piece on Chicago disastrous policing policies at Real Clear Policy starts this way:
Chicago is a bloody mess. Last year, Chicago had 762 homicides — more than New York and Los Angeles combined. This represents an astounding 57 percent increase from the 2015 murder rate. 
On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes rightfully expressed concern about the fall in stops and arrests by police over the last year. Criminals have seemingly become emboldened as a result of the decrease in arrests. The 60 Minutes piece quotes Garry McCarthy — Chicago’s Police Superintendent up until a year ago — as saying that “officers are under attack, that is how they feel.” 
This isn’t a new trend. The quality of Chicago’s policing has been deteriorating for decades. Back in 1991, 67 percent of murderers were arrested. When Mayor Richard M. Daley left office twenty years later, in 2011, the arrest rate was down to 30 percent. This troubling drop only continued after Rahm Emanuel became mayor, hitting a new low of 20 percent in 2016. (See graph below.) 
Unfortunately, the true number is even worse, because Chicago has been intentionally misclassifying murders, instead labeling them as subject to non-criminal “death investigations.” 
Nationally, police solve 61.5 percent of murders — almost two out of every three. And, unlike Chicago’s arrest rate, the national rate has been fairly constant over the decades. 
Donald Trump’s tweeted hope to Chicago on Monday: “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” But for politicians who can’t help making decisions based on politics, what really matters is what they can’t do, not what they won’t do. 
Chicago’s problem is the result of bad political decisions. For example, after his election, Emanuel did three unfortunate things that hampered the Chicago police force. The mayor: closed down detective bureaus in Chicago's highest crime districts, relocating them to often distant locations; disbanded many gang task forces; and, in cooperation with the ACLU, instituted new, voluminous forms that have to be filled out by police each time they stop someone to investigate a crime. All this time filling out forms is time that can’t be spent policing neighborhoods. When you don’t catch criminals, the obvious result is more crime. . . .
The rest of the piece and the graph are available here.

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