WATCHDOGS: Violent crime in city up virtually across the board

SHARE WATCHDOGS: Violent crime in city up virtually across the board

Violence in Chicago again is making national news, with the nine people killed Monday marking the city’s highest single-day toll of shooting deaths in years.

But the Chicago Police Department and City Hall are grappling with more than a rise in shootings and killings. Citywide, other violent crimes — sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated batteries — also are up this year compared with year-to-date totals for the same period in 2015.

Some parts of the city also are facing particular issues with certain types of violent crimes — robberies on the far North Side, for one, and sexual assaults in lakefront police districts, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of police department crime data found.


On a weekly basis, the police department reports the numbers of murders, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated batteries, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts and shootings.

Citywide, each of those categories saw an increase in the department’s latest report, through Aug. 7, with murders up 43 percent over last year, shootings up 48 percent, robberies 27 percent and sexual assaults 20 percent.

The statistics don’t paint a complete picture of crime in the city. They can include complaints that might not always be substantiated. And the department’s murder count doesn’t include cases handled by the Illinois State Police.

The Sun-Times had tallied 425 homicides in Chicago as of Friday morning.

“You are correct that other crime categories are up year over year,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says. “And while that is unacceptable, it is also not the whole story. Taking a broader look citywide when looking at total crime, Chicago is actually down 24 percent over the last four years. Robberies, aggravated battery, burglary and theft are also down over that period.”

Still, the year-to-year rise in crime citywide and this latest bloody week — which saw 84 people shot, 19 of them killed as of Friday — are signs that criminals have become emboldened as cops “stand down” amid heightened attention over the police shootings of Laquan McDonald, Paul O’Neal and other young, black men, says Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

“I think what you have now is the worst of all worlds,” says O’Donnell, a former New York City police officer. “Cops have just checked out physically or physiologically. And the bad guys know this. . . . It’s a national phenomenon.”

Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents most Chicago cops, rejects the idea that his members aren’t protecting people.

But he says officers aren’t “as proactive as they used to be,” in part because of concerns they’ll be branded racially insensitive at a time when the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Chicago Police Department over issues including possible racial bias.

“I don’t believe they’re out there driving and looking for groups like they used to,” Angelo says of Chicago cops. “In the old gang-crime days, we would go out, search them, take their names, identify them and tell them we would be back.

“I’ve been saying this for two years now, that we’ll be seeing upticks” in crime, Angelo says. “We have a much more emboldened criminal population out there.”

The police statistics show traditionally high-crime areas in Chicago have grown even more dangerous.

Three West Side police districts that include the Austin, Garfield Park and Lawndale neighborhoods all have seen the number of shootings more than double. Two of those three districts also have seen a doubling in the number of murders.

In the police department’s Englewood district, shootings are up 30 percent, to 213 so far this year. The South Side district has seen an even bigger increase — 168 percent — in the number of murders this year, from 19 killings at this point in 2015 to 51. That’s the biggest percentage increase in murders among the city’s 22 police districts.

“This year, we are seeing unacceptable increases caused by a variety of factors and driven by violent repeat gun offenders who often fail to be held accountable for their crimes,” Guglielmi says. “Of the increase in gun violence happening this year, we know that there are only five districts on the South and West Sides of the city that account for 64 percent of the year-over-year increase in shootings and 82 percent of the increase in homicides.”

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is formulating strategies to deal with those areas, including Englewood, where organized-crime officers on Friday “executed a series of targeted gang raids . . . where individuals are being sought on drugs and weapons charges,” according to Guglielmi. “Operations to disrupt gang activity will be continuing over the next several weeks.”

As for other crime, the number of robberies went up from 61 percent to 93 percent in each of three far North Side police districts that include the Portage Park, Irving Park, Rogers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods.

In the Town Hall district — which includes Lake View, North Center and part of Uptown — robberies were up 40 percent and burglaries 55 percent.

The Lincoln district — which includes parts of Lincoln Square, Uptown and Edgewater — saw a 146 percent rise in the number of sexual assaults, to 32 this year.

Other lakefront police districts also saw big increases in sexual assaults, including the Wentworth district, which saw the number nearly double, to 48. That district includes Douglas, Oakland, Washington Park and Hyde Park.

The Central district — which includes the Loop and the Near South Side — saw a 77 percent increase in sexual assaults, to 39. The number of property crimes downtown increased, too, with robberies up 47 percent, to 241, and thefts up 38 percent, to 686.

• • •



Crime in virtually every category in Chicago is up citywide so far this year compared to the same time last year, according to Chicago Police Department data. The following shows the type of crime that has increased the most in each police district, along with the number of cases last year and this year.

District 1 – Central


Up 150%

2016: 5 cases

2015: 2 cases

2 – Wentworth

Sexual assault

Up 92%

2016: 48 cases

2015: 25 cases

3 – Grand Crossing


Up 57%

2016: 22 cases

2015: 14 cases

4 – South Chicago

Sexual assault

Up 30%

2016: 61

2015: 47

5 – Calumet

Sexual assault

Up 82%

2016: 60 cases

2015: 33 cases

6 – Gresham

Sexual assault

Up 50%

2016: 69 cases

2015: 46 cases

7 – Englewood


Up 168%

2016: 51 cases

2015: 19 cases

8 – Chicago Lawn


Up 76%

2016: 30 cases

2015: 17 cases

9 – Deering


Up 100%

2016: 32 cases

2015: 16 cases

10 – Ogden

Aggravated Battery

Up 41 percent

2016: 338 cases

2015: 239 cases

11 – Harrison


Up 100%

2016: 48 cases

2015: 24 cases

12 – Near West


Up 37%

2016: 270 cases

2015: 197 cases

14 – Shakespeare


Up 71%

2016: 252 cases

2015: 147 cases

15 – Austin


Up 150%

2016: 35 cases

2015: 14 cases

16 – Jefferson Park


Up 61%

2016: 119 cases

2015: 74 cases

17 – Albany Park


Up 64%

2016: 195 cases

2015: 119 cases

18 – Near North

Aggravated battery

Up 77%

2016: 124

2015: 70

19 – Town Hall


Up 55%

2016: 497 cases

2015: 321 cases

20 – Lincoln

Sexual assault

Up 146%

2016: 32 cases

2015: 13 cases

22 – Morgan Park


Up 16%

2016: 168

2015: 145

24 – Rogers Park


Up 93%

2016: 191 cases

2015: 99 cases

25 – Grand Central

Auto theft

Up 12%

2016: 525 cases

2015: 467 cases

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