RAHM-RITHMATIC: Mayor Says “Crime Is Down” On CTA (But Bus Stop Murders And Robberies Don’t Count)

CTA claims there were no homicides on its property last year.. This homicide at an Uptown bus stop was officially recorded as occurring in the “street.” (NBC5Chicago screen grab)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel summoned reporters to a CTA station Wednesday morning to announce an enormous drop in crime on the transit agency’s property last year.  But the mayor conveniently left out crimes reported at CTA bus stops.

It was a classic “crime is down” moment for Emanuel, who twisted Chicago crime stats to the breaking point under former police superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Wednesday, the mayor claimed that there were 364 “serious crimes” including robberies, sexual assaults, and aggravated batteries across the CTA system.  He didn’t count the 224 serious crimes that were reported at bus stops.

Here’s the actual number of FBI Index crimes (“serious crimes”) reported on CTA property over the past two years, including bus stops:

CRIME 2015 2014
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 50 57
AGGRAVATED BATTERY 116 102
ARSON 3 0
BURGLARY 0 4
CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT 12 8
ROBBERY 405 490
TOTAL REPORTS 586 661

The  Tribune reported Wednesday:

In 2014, there were 4,691 crimes reported on CTA property compared to 3,512 in 2015, according to the statistics released by the agency. 

Huh. The city’s online database shows 5,367 crimes at all CTA-related locations in 2014, not 4,691.

And the portal shows CTA 4,110 crimes last year, far more than the 3,512 Rahm counted.

Incredibly, the press was told that there were no homicides on CTA property last year.

Yet, a Chicago police officer who works in another part of town told us that he personally knows of three murders at CTA bus stops last year. And we easily remembered this one at a CTA bus stop in Uptown. Yet, not a single homicide was officially said to have happened at a CTA bus stop or on other agency property.

Turnstile Jumpers Disappear

If the city’s public crime data portal is to be believed, more than half of the reported crime reduction that Rahm is promoting came from a hard-to-believe free fall in fare jumping.

There were 694 cases of “theft of labor or services” on CTA property in 2014, but only 137 last year. That’s a miraculous 80% drop.

Maybe CTA has created an invisible turnstile force shield? Or maybe, just maybe, the city hasn’t been enforcing the law? After all, if no crime report is taken, then there’s no crime to count in the statistics. We’d put large sums of money on the latter.

“Down”

So, sure. crime is “down.”  As long as you follow the city’s unique way of counting crime—dead bodies, robberies, and beatings at bus stations don’t count. And turnstile jumpers have virtually vanished, we’re supposed to believe. Lord only knows what a critical analysis of the other crime categories would show.

Here’s a year-to-year comparison of all CTA crime reports, according to the city data portal:

CRIME CATEGORY 2015 2014 Change %Change
ARSON 3 0 3 N/A
ASSAULT 258 269 -11 -4.09%
BATTERY 803 779 24 3.08%
BURGLARY 0 4 -4 -100.00%
CONCEALED CARRY VIOLATION 1 0 1 N/A
CRIM SEXUAL ASSAULT 12 8 4 50.00%
CRIMINAL DAMAGE 347 383 -36 -9.40%
CRIMINAL TRESPASS 115 157 -42 -26.75%
DECEPTIVE PRACTICE 255 884 -629 -71.15%
GAMBLING 3 0 3 N/A
INTERFERE W/PUBLIC OFFICER 14 22 -8 -36.36%
INTIMIDATION 1 1 0 0.00%
KIDNAPPING 2 1 1 100.00%
LIQUOR LAW VIOLATION 1 3 -2 -66.67%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 6 6 0 0.00%
NARCOTICS 196 258 -62 -24.03%
NON-CRIMINAL 0 2 -2 -100.00%
OFFENSE INVOLVING CHILDREN 7 5 2 40.00%
OTHER OFFENSE 36 46 -10 -21.74%
PROSTITUTION 0 2 -2 -100.00%
PUBLIC INDECENCY 0 3 -3 -100.00%
PUBLIC PEACE VIOLATION 53 52 1 1.92%
ROBBERY 405 490 -85 -17.35%
SEX OFFENSE 44 65 -21 -32.31%
STALKING 2 2 0 0.00%
THEFT 1525 1901 -376 -19.78%
WEAPONS VIOLATION 21 24 -3 -12.50%
TOTAL REPORTS FILED 4110 5367 -1257 -23.42%
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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 news@cwbchicago.com