TRIBUNE REPORT: Beat Cops Dwindle; Our District Loses Greatest Percentage

The Chicago Tribune carries a story worth reading Thursday:

Chicago’s ranks of beat cops dwindle
Beat officers down by 10% since 2011, despite hiring efforts

And, though buried, our 19th district is the star of the show.

Regular readers of CWB will find much of the Tribune territory to be familiar:  RAPS; our neighborhood’s unacceptable rank as one of the city’s worst for robberies; and a massive loss of police officers in “safe” districts.

BTW, our district has lost a higher percentage of officers than any other district mentioned in the Tribune story — by far. And the Tribune‘s report of a 21% reduction in 19th district officers was true at the end of last year. We proceeded to lose even more in the first week of January, bring us to a 25% loss of officers.

Among the story’s highlights:

• By fall 2011, months after taking office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he had fulfilled a campaign pledge to move some 1,000 cops to beat patrols to beef up the Police Department’s front lines in the fight on crime.

But in the more than two years since then, those numbers have plunged by hundreds of cops, the city’s own data show.

•  Over the past five years, police districts on the North and Northwest sides took the biggest hits in manpower, while staffing grew in districts in higher-crime neighborhoods on the South and West sides, the data show.

• Robert Lombardo, a criminologist at Loyola University Chicago, stressed the importance of maintaining adequate staffing throughout the districts, even those facing less violence and crime.

“It is not just about assigning (officers) to hot spots,” said Lombardo, a Chicago cop for 30 years who retired as a sergeant. “There is the whole issue of (crime) prevention and having enough officers to properly work the beats.”

You’ll need to register to read the whole story, but it’s a quick and free.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is