Not enough police in high-crime areas

October 21, 2011
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“Putting the most police in the areas with the most crime — it’s just that simple.”

That’s what the Rev. Marshall Hatch told the Chicago News Cooperative in response to its recent findings that the police districts with the most crimes often have fewer officers patrolling the streets than far safer areas of the city.

Hatch’s New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church is located in a West Side police district with the second-lowest proportion of police officers to violent crimes, according to an analysis by Chicago News Cooperative reporters Dan Mihalopoulos and Hunter Clauss.

The Chicago News Cooperative obtained records that show how 9,400-some police officers and nearly 1,000 detectives are deployed across the city — information officials working for the Daley administration and now Mayor Emanuel have steadfastly declined to make public despite FOIA requests. (The Chicago Tribune also had requested the information, which the Illinois public access counselor ruled earlier this year should be made public.)

The analysis, published by the news cooperative Friday, found the distribution of patrol officers among the city’s 25 police districts does not correlate to the places where crime rates are highest.

The 5th police district, which includes the Roseland and Pullman neighborhoods on the Far South Side, has 266 patrol officers, four fewer than the 270 officers in the 12th district on the gentrified Near West Side.

But the 5th district experienced 1,049 violent crimes in the first eight months of this year, while the 12th district recorded 341 violent incidents during the same period, according to police department records.

Many predominantly black districts on the South and West Sides had more than three or four murders, rapes, armed robberies or assaults for every beat officer assigned to work within their boundaries during that period.

That contrasted drastically with 10 districts, mostly in more affluent North Side neighborhoods, where there were one or two such crimes for every officer.

To read the complete story by the Chicago News Cooperative, click here.

Click here to see Austin on the interactive map of police staffing and crime rates per district.

One thought on “Not enough police in high-crime areas

  1. This shouldn’t be a surprise. What are your politicians doing to address this perpetual problem? If the police were visibly patrolling high-risk areas, would they do anything other than observe? Most of them don’t even intend to intervene? How many of them actually exit their vehicles when call to emergencies? When I lived in the Austin Area, the police would drive by the gang members and drug dealers to put a ticket on legally parked vehicles. Perhaps, the new police superintendent needs to do unannounced spot checks to ascertain if they are actually performing to expectation – whatever that is.

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