Stung by a 16% spike in killings in 2012 that led Moody’s, the ratings agency, to downgrade the city’s debt due to its "unrelenting public safety demands", Emanuel promised a tough response. Amid spending cuts, the former White House chief of staff to Barack Obama has ploughed tens of millions more taxpayer dollars into policing. Sure enough, in January he proudly announced that 2013 had seen the city’s fewest homicides since 1965 and lowest crime rate since 1972.
Yet a startling 7,000-word investigation earlier this month by Chicago Magazine cast serious doubt over the crime-busting miracle of Emanuel and his superintendent, Garry McCarthy. It identified at least 18 apparent murders in 2013 that had either been quietly redefined as “non-criminal deaths” or shunted off the city’s books by other statistical sleights of hand.
Professor Eli Silverman of the City University of New York, an authority on the CompStat-style data systems used by police in Chicago, New York and other major cities, told the Guardian he had been contacted by several Chicago officers concerned about the determination among chiefs to drive down crime numbers at whatever cost.
“The pressure from the top is unrelenting,” he said one had told him. “The defenders of the system always say ‘You can’t hide a dead body’,” said Silverman. “But you can reclassify one.” City authorities deny any impropriety.
Classic criminal move by Emanuel - put the pressure on from top down, then have the people below put in the statistical fixes to make everything look better.
More later from Chicago Magazine.