Good news. Crime is down in Chicago. Walk the streets late at night. Carry your wallet in your back pocket. It’s safe.
Homicides dropped 18 percent in Chicago last year and crime overall was down 16 percent, according to statistics released by the police department this morning.
Shootings across the city dropped by 24 percent from 2012 and 16 percent from 2011, according to the department’s numbers. Sexual assaults were down 6 percent from last year, robberies down 12 percent, serious battery down 16 percent, burglaries down 22 percent, motor vehicle thefts down 23 percent, thefts down 3 percent.
At the woman’s feet, detectives found a curled strand of telephone wire. Draped over her right hand was a different kind of wire: thin and brown. The same brown wire was wrapped around each armrest of a wooden chair next to her.
The following day, July 24, a pathologist in the Cook County medical examiner’s office noticed something else that had been obscured by rotting skin: a thin gag tied around the corpse’s mouth.
Thanks to some still-visible tattoos, detectives soon identified this unfortunate woman: Tiara Groves, a 20-year-old from Austin. She was last seen walking alone in the wee hours of Sunday, July 14, near a liquor store two miles from the warehouse. At least eight witnesses who saw her that night told police a similar story: She appeared drunk and was upset—one man said that she was crying so hard she couldn’t catch her breath—but refused offers of help. A man who talked to her outside the liquor store said that Groves warned him, excitedly and incoherently, that he should stay away from her or else somebody (she didn’t say who) would kill him too.
So… obviously not a murder.
Given the finding of homicide—and the corroborating evidence at the crime scene—the Chicago Police Department should have counted Groves’s death as a murder. And it did. Until December 18. On that day, the police report indicates, a lieutenant overseeing the Groves case reclassified the homicide investigation as a noncriminal death investigation. In his writeup, he cited the medical examiner’s “inability to determine a cause of death.”
That lieutenant was Denis Walsh—the same cop who had played a crucial role in the alleged cover-up in the 2004 killing of David Koschman, the 21-year-old who died after being punched by a nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley.
And this wasn’t a unique event.
Was it just a coincidence, some wondered, that the reclassification occurred less than two weeks before the end of the year, when the city of Chicago’s final homicide numbers for 2013 would be tallied?
Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.
This troubling practice goes far beyond murders, documents and interviews reveal. Chicago found dozens of other crimes, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether.
Welcome to 21st century crime fighting. This is why it’s a good idea to study monthly crime numbers and compare them to the annual numbers to check for major discrepancies. There’s less time to reclassify them, though the reclassification still goes on.
It’s a familiar phenomenon in Socialist systems. The planners create a target that relies on statistics. Then everyone in the system is pressured to meet that target… which they do by faking the statistics.
It’s how the USSR brought in 97 percent of the crop without there being any food and why High School graduation rates suddenly increased in the US even though the graduates were more ignorant than ever.