J-Fed Spins and Spins
Chicago homicides, shootings and other violent crime are up. Arrests, gun recoveries and other indicators of police activity are down.
On Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis officially closed the book on 2008, a year that one alderman said left little to celebrate.
"He's made mistakes. This is the residual effect of that. He's got good intentions. But it's hard to see anything positive about his reign," said Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers (29th).
Weis said Friday he believes he has a dedicated, hardworking force and that he has seen a shift recently.
Homicides are down 31 percent since Dec. 15. Shootings dropped slightly, and gun recoveries nudged up.
It's far from a trend, but Weis said it could be a sign that command changes he made last year put the right people in place.
- Weis also pointed to a decline in excessive-force complaints and election night as successes. "We were on a worldwide stage that night, and it was an absolute, 100 percent success.''
Friday's statistics show homicides jumped 15 percent and shootings increased 17 percent in 2008. Shots-fired calls jumped 33 percent; gang disturbance calls went up 18 percent.
At the same time, police made 12 percent fewer overall arrests and 15 fewer felony arrests. Police responses were down 21 percent for gang loitering and 38 percent for gang narcotics loitering. Cops recovered 4 percent fewer guns.
Weis acknowledged that police officers were being less aggressive as violent crime rises for fear of piling up citizen complaints.
In fact, on Friday, Weis reported a 13 percent drop in excessive force complaints. Search warrant complaints also are down.
Weis attributed that to training and education from the new Bureau of Professional Standards -- not to less-aggressive officers.