Without naming names, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday blamed the administration of former Police Supt. Jody Weis for the city’s failure to count nearly one-quarter of victims of aggravated assault and battery in 2012.
Inspector General Joe Ferguson revealed the embarassing under-count in an audit released earlier this week that threatens to undermine public confidence in the statistics that Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy so frequently tout and are so important to McCarthy’s Compstat plan to hold district commanders accountable.
On Wednesday, Emanuel tried to shift the blame to Weis, who resigned shortly before Emanuel took office.
“One is, it doesn’t deal with either our homicides or shootings. It was aggravated battery. Two, while the state changed how you identify aggravated battery, prior to our tenure, the city had not updated its information,” the mayor said.
“Once it was brought to us, we are now working with the IG and he’s even recognized that. I’m very much into, not just having accurate data for the sake of it but for the transparency so we improve every day in making sure we bring safety throughout the city of Chicago.”
Ferguson made it clear his audit was just a snapshot that only looked at one category of crimes.
Is the mayor concerned that “killing crime” might be going on in other categories?
“You’re asking me a hypothetical. I want to be accurate. Garry wants it. And remember, this was prior to our tenure. The state changed the standard. The city did not meet that. And now, we’re addressing it because it was brought to our attention,” Emanuel said.
The Chicago Police Department failed to count nearly one of every four victims of aggravated assault and battery in 2012 because police statistics didn’t count each person in a crime involving multiple victims as a separate offense, the inspector general said.
The audit reviewed a sample of 383 assault-related incident reports out of a total of 83,480 for 2012.
Because of the findings, Chicago Police officials have agreed to review every aggravated assault and battery in 2012 and 2013 — and count each victim.
The audit didn’t address the way police count shooting incidents. Shootings are not included as a category in the Illinois Uniform Crime Report.
The audit also didn’t examine the classification and reporting of murders. Of the 6,260 homicides reported on the city’s data portal between 2001 and June 12, 2013, all but 19 of them were classified as first-degree murder. Nineteen were counted as involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.
The report found that Chicago Police officers “incorrectly classified 3.1 percent of 2012 assault-related events contained in incident reports.” For example, the victim and offender were former roommates in one case. Due to their relationship, the correct code for the incident was “domestic simple battery,” but the officer coded the incident as a “simple battery.”
The 3.1 percent error rate was under the 10 percent error rate that the FBI states is acceptable for agencies participating in its national reporting program, according to the inspector general.