Is Rahm 'Juking the Stats' on CTA crime?... Chicago's mayor is now trying to fix CTA crime statistics... Rahm Emanuel told the press CTA crime was 'down,' while in reality there was a 14 percent increase since Rahm became mayor in May 2011

Following a recent armed robbery on board an Orange Line CTA train, the mayor sprung quickly into action. As usual, he responded with a couple of press releases and a carefully staged media event, this one at the CTA stop at Roosevelt Road. To the surprise of few, Chicago's public transit crime is "down" since Rahm Emanuel became mayor in 2011. For reporters who couldn't get to the last-minute media event, the press release issued from City Hall told the story: According to "The Public Schedule for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, July 29th, 2014... Mayor Emanuel and the CTA President Forrest Claypool will announce that serious crimes and thefts continue to fall on CTA trains and buses. Time: 11:45 AM. Location: Roosevelt Orange Line Stop, Elevated Platform, 1167 South State Street... Chicago, IL..."

Crimes at the Chicago Transit Authority, based on one set of data. Substance chart based on information provided by the CTA. In a quick fact check of the most recent media spin that crime is down in Chicago and on Chicago's mass transit system, Substance has found that the recent announcement that Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) crime is down is partially correct -- when the statistics are manipulated. Rahm Emanuel released statistics claiming crime was down on the CTA. It is correct that in the same time last year "reported crime" is down by 896 incidents from 2013 to 2014.

Total CTA Crimes, according to the recent data provided by the mayor.

2009 -- 5,864 crimes

2010 -- 6,176 crimes

2011 -- 6,771 crimes

2012 -- 7,732 crimes

2013 -- 7,413 crimes

2014* -- 3,139 crimes

*until July 21, 2014

What was interesting to this dramatic drop in the crime rate on CTA is the fact that crime is actually up from before Rahm Emanuel became Mayor in May of 2011. Totaling CTA crimes before Rahm took office (2009 -2010) 12,040 and comparing them to total crime on CTA after he took office (2012-2013) 15,145. From these numbers there has been a 26% increase in crime on the CTA since Rahm took office.

It was also possible then to do a comparison of three year periods of the same seven-month period of the year (January 1 to July 21). In those calculations the results showed the same increase:

-- before Rahm 10,020 (2009-2011) compared to

-- after Rahm 11,371 (2012-2014).

A City Hall version of the CTA crime information between 2009 and 2014. From these numbers, there was a 14% increase in crime on the CTA since Rahm has been mayor.

CTA Crimes Jan 1 to July 21 (2010 to 2014)

2009 -- 3249

2010 -- 3542

2011 -- 3229

2012 -- 4198

2013 -- 4034

2014 -- 3139

Now lets look at those original numbers that come from the actual police reports of incidents on CTA property. The number is 896 fewer reports as of this year. Calculating the decrease in reports from 4,034 (2013) to 3,139 (2014) the percent decrease is 22%.

Even the Redeye, the Tribune's answer to alternative news, is questioning its parent company's reporting that the decline in crimes correlates to the decline in ridership. There is no evidence that ridership is a factor in the crime decrease, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. "Crime is down in far greater percentages than the modest decline in overall ridership year-to-date through April."

What numbers are right then? Rahm's interpretation of the numbers -- or the actual numbers reported before and after his being Mayor? Seems like Rahm cannot spin his way of this one!

In a town where the mayor has been working to script his version of reality like the Robert Redford movie "Chicagoland", comparisons with other works of urban fictionalization are inevitable. But it's worth looking back to other city agencies now that Rahm has a public record more than three years old.

Take the schools. Three years ago, Rahm Emanuel assembled reporters and hosted a major media event announcing (and hailing) "COMPSTAT CPS". COMPSTAT CPS was supposedly a monthly review of crimes in and around Chicago's public schools. The URL for the Substance report on COMPSTAT CPS is at:

On December 13, 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy (third from left), then Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard (left) and Chicago Public Schools "Chief Officer for Security and Safety" Jadine Chou (leaning forward, far right) walked reporters through a program called "COMPSTAT CPS," a program that was supposed to meet once a month to better deploy police resources to solve crime problems in the schools using a "data driven" approach. COMPSTAT CPS never again held a public meeting, nor did CPS officials explain whether any COMPSTAT CPS meetings were held at all in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The COMPSTAT CPS program was supposedly designed to provide quick-response, computer assisted, data-driven deployment of police to provide schools with help agains crime. Surrounded by police and a carefully screened group of CPS princiipals at Police Headquarters, the mayor, his schools "Chief Executive Officer," and the mayor's chief of police, Garry McCarthy, explained the COMPSTAT CPS program and smiled for the cameras. The three of them then went into the smaller press briefing room at 35th and Michigan to answer a few questions -- and avoid answering others (like one from a Substance reporter).

Was COMPSTAT CPS a publicity stunt, or an ongoing program? Does COMPSTAT CPS still exist? Once the publicity stunt was ended, the program was never heard from again. Requests from Substance for information about the supposed monthly events were never answered. Some reporters noted that COMPSTAT CPS reminded them of the TV movie "The Wire." There, in fictional Baltimore, the program called COMPSTAT was behind what street cops called "juking the stats."


The statistics were calculated by downloading all the crimes on CTA property and equipment (buses and trains) since January 1, 2001. There were 80,745 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 data was sorted by year going back to 2009 and then sorted again by 7 month periods (January 1 to July 210 to match eth reporting data that the city was reporting on the data portal.

"Crime on CTA Declines in First Half of 2014, Police Data Show." 30 July 2014.

"CTA Crimes down amid Overall Ridership Decline." 30 July 2014.


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