The mayor's numbers game... After a deadly Fourth of July weekend, let's reflect on crime in Chicago using some public information that apparently the Attorney General missed
Reflecting back on a relaxing July 4th weekend listening to the bloodshed in the streets of Chicago, it was time for a little fact checking. At the time of writing (late night, Sunday July 6, 2014) this story, the murder count for the Independence Day weekend was 60 shot and 9 dead, making the national news. The morning newspapers had the body count at eight. But this was also the weekend that ended the week when one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's White House colleagues, Attorney General Eric Holder, made a special trip to Chicago to praise the mayor for reducing crime.
So, it's definitely time for a closer look.
Substance News using public information and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests has found that something is wrong with the claim by the mayor and CPS officials that CPS students are safest they ever have been.
This is on the heels of last week’s press event staged by Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a with US Attorney Eric Holder, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and Chicago Schools Security Chief Jadine Chou. The event was at police headquarters, proclaiming how safe the Chicago schools are now under the leadership team of the Movie-Set Mayor.
And most of the press bought it. DNAinfo Chicago reported last week “CPS Has Safest Year Ever.” The mayor was quoted boasting that violence and crime with CPS students was down. The Tribune quoted Superintendent McCarthy saying, “This year we had the lowest rate of violence among students — as victims or offenders.”
Crime data from City of Chicago's Data Portal shows that in the first six months of 2014 gun incidents inside of school buildings are up 100% from last year.
Here is what the "data" show: For the entire 2013 Calendar year there were only 13 reported gun crimes inside of CPS buildings. Where in 2014, as of the last reported gun incident on June 11, 2014, (time stamped 13:20), Case Number HX299059 which was the thirteenth incident this calendar year the same amount as the entire year of 2013!
Year Gun Incidents (2014) only six months 13
Not being one to believe official Chicago statistics, just to double check the numbers, Substances News obtained some statistics through a FOIA request. The data obtained from CPS seem to indicate that crime and CPS students are not at their lowest levels in years.
According to CPS numbers which are not calculated by school year, something is not adding up. The average CPS student homicide rate is 38 per year, yet this year until March 2014 there were only 4 students murdered. If this was an anomaly it would have been correlated with the gun incidents inside of schools which is the exact opposite, up 100%. Looking even more at the CPS stats even these numbers do not show any decrease. In fact during Movie Set’s second year as mayor the number of CPS students murders actually went up. Seems someone forgot to give US Attorney General Eric Holder the same numbers that were given to Substance News. Or maybe since I am an ex-carpentry teacher my number are not adding up. Check for yourself, all you math teachers out there.
CPS Student Homicides*
Calendar Year Homicide (by Firearm) Homicide (non-firearm) Total
2014 (as of 3/13/14) 4 0 4
2013 32 2 34
2012 40 1 41
2011 35 1 36
2010 34 1 35
2009 39 5 44
(*CPS FOIA response (6/25/2014)
US Attorney General Holder quote from the Tribune, “Compared to three years ago, there were: 49 fewer students shot, a 50 percent drop from the year before; 12 percent fewer students murdered; more than 27,000 fewer out-of-school suspensions; 1,300 fewer referrals for expulsion and 1,000 fewer in-school arrests.”
On the lighter side, I guess we should explain the Mayor’s new nickname, which is the result of his propensity to stage scripted media events without allowing reports to ask questions and in many instances excluding reporters all together form certain events, including press conferences. It is the well-known fact that "Movie Set Mayor", or as I call him, "Movie Set", scripted a CNN documentary series “Chicagoland” to make him look good to a national audience of viewers. The scripted documentary was revealed after the Tribune requested by FOIA communications between the Mayors’ office and CNN producers.
When CNN tried to deny that it had staged some of the scenes in Cihcagoland, their claim was quickly refuted by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who told the union's members and the press that the CNN team had asked her to stage a "meeting" with Joey McDermott for their cameras and she had refused, noting that she had studied documentary filmmaking and that once you've staged a scene it's no longer a documentary.
According to the Tribune, “Everything the mayor does is stage-managed. Everything. That is the way he operates, so I'm not going to dispute that," Creator and executive producer Marc Levin said in an interview when asked about his emails that requested specific scenes featuring the mayor. "I would be the first to acknowledge that you don't get into Chicago … and get access without having to do a certain dance.”
Aldermen are even now talking about the fakeness of what come out of city hall. Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said staged and scripted events according to the Tribune.
Ok enough of the digression from the main story that the statistics reporting from the Mayor’s Office that the schools are safer than ever. The Tribune quoted the Superintendent of Police “This year we had the lowest rate of violence among students — as victims or offenders. Very clearly, the Safe Passage program which we invested an awful lot of resources in — we gained an awful lot of return on investment.”
There is not enough time to go into the spending (how much money on violence programs) part of this story right now. What can be done is a quick data analysis of public statistics on crimes inside of schools since 2001. The statistics can be downloaded from the City of Chicago Data Portal. Specifically for this part of the narrative we will use the stats from Crimes- 2001 to present.
I downloaded all the crimes inside of public school buildings since January 1, 2001. There were 1,381,872 data sets reported for this search from the aggregate data set of 5,564,381 (Crimes - 2001 to present). Then the information was filtered and sorted into an easy category to identify and quantify. The filter “gun” was applied to the column “Description” and then the data was sorted out by year. It should be noted that the data was left sorted by calendar year and not school year (January 1 to December 31).
The reason guns was picked was for the simple fact it is very difficult for any school administrator, police officer or other school staff to hide a gun crime inside of a school. That being said Substance News has uncovered multiple gun crime inside of CPS schools that have been covered up. Again, gun crimes are the most visible and the hardest to under report. The data set only included gun crimes inside public schools; left out were gun crimes on public school property, meaning outside of the building where most crimes occur, before and after school.
There should probably be some moral or wrap up to this story about right now. The problem is that there is none. What is clear is that in just a few hours of work, looking through public data, the numbers given by Movie Set are not adding up? What’s more embarrassing is that he is pulling in national politicians, giving them a script and there goes the story. What is interesting in the timing if the Holder event is the July 4 weekend? Seems like the shooters and murderers did not agree that crime in the city and schools is down. Just like the statistics seem to show that crime is not down.
Substance News is still in the process of clarifying the statistics from the CPS FOIA request. Additionally the entire dataset from City of Chicago's Data Portal is being analyzed for anymore discrepancies in eth crime reporting from CPS schools.