Michael Schaus

A woman’s body was found bound, and gagged, in an empty commercial building in Chicago. Another woman’s body was found beaten, and stuffed inside of a mattress. A man was shot in the head, while driving, on the Far South Side. All three aforementioned victims have something in common: They’re officially classified by the Chicago Police department as “non-criminal” death investigations.

They don’t call it “Crook County” for nothing. Despite the abnormally high level of gang violence, it turns out that politicians are the inheritors of Al Capone’s style of injustice. It seems that politicos in Chicago would rather see a couple of decent headline stories, than keep murderers and criminals off the streets. Cleaning up the streets of America’s Murder Capital, apparently, is not as important as making sure Rahm Emanuel’s poll rating remains intact.

Chicago magazine recently released an exposé on the city’s newly adopted habit of reclassifying murder cases in an effort to pad their crime statistics. I guess the CPD decided that it was whole lot easier to fudge the crime numbers than fix any underlying issues that lead to criminal activity in the first place.

Truthfully, data manipulation is nothing new. Heck, newspapers are still reporting that we have 6.7 percent unemployment – despite the fact that there is a record number of people who have been pushed "out of the labor force". And anyone that has purchased gas, paid a utility bill, or bought groceries will be willing to testify that “1.1 percent inflation” is a highly cherry-picked statistic.

But, in the case of Emanuel’s Chicago, the data fudging is having a deadly effect throughout the city. Criminals are remaining on the street, families are left to grieve without closure, and CPD brass are willing to tolerate miscarriages of justice, in exchange for a pat on the back from the local press and city leaders.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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