Most of our readers probably don’t know this. CWB Chicago was founded nine years ago, April 13, 2013, by a group of Wrigleyville and Boystown residents who became fed up with false information being provided by the Chicago Police Department about a major robbery problem in their neighborhood.
To this day, nothing gets our keyboards burning faster and hotter than someone misleading the public about a crime problem.
One of the surest ways to know someone is trying to cover up a major crime problem is when, rather than comparing their neighborhood’s crime stats to previous years, they instead compare their neighborhood’s crime to a different neighborhood.
It’s like saying you weigh 25 pounds less than your brother. Yet, you weigh 50 pounds more than you did last year.
So, you can imagine our skepticism when Kiana DiStasi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Chicago Loop Alliance, spoke glowingly about the downtown neighborhood’s crime statistics. The alliance, if you haven’t already guessed, promotes the Loop.
“Violent crime [in the Loop] is less than 1% of the citywide total,” DiStasi told WBBM radio Monday, “and if you look at shootings and homicides, it’s actually less than 1%.”
So, in DiStasi’s world, because less than 1% of the entire city’s violent crime happens in the Loop, things are fantastic in the Loop.
Ok. Well, let’s compare the Loop to itself rather than the rest of the city.
There were 70 robberies in the Loop during the first three months of this year, up from 29 last year. This year is out-pacing 2019 and 2020.
There were 6 carjackings during the first quarter, up from two last year, three in 2020 and zero in 2019. Last week alone, there were at least three more hijackings in the Loop.
Criminal sexual assaults are at a high point, too. There were 10 during the first quarter, up from four last year, five in 2020, and 6 in 2019.
Incredibly, there were 121 motor vehicle thefts in the Loop during the first quarter — that’s more than the first quarters of 2021, 2020, and 2019 combined.
Aggravated battery cases this year have more than doubled from last year and are in line with the bustling first quarters of 2019 and 2020.
Burglaries are up from 6 last year to 28 this year. That’s in line with 2020, but double 2019’s performance.
Murders and shootings? There have been 3 shootings and no murders in the Loop so far this year. That’s up from zero at this point last year. The first quarter of 2020 had three shooting victims in a single incident, one of whom died. In 2019, there was one shooting victim. They survived. There was also one murder, a man beaten to death.
For all of last year, there were 23 shootings in the Loop. By comparison, there were 23 shootings for the seven full years between 2013 and 2019 combined. The Loop had 13 shootings in 2020.
Last year’s violent crime total, 427 incidents, was one shy of 2019, when the neighborhood was booming with activity.
“If you’re down here regularly, it’s very different than what people are seeing when they’re just watching negative or isolated incidents on the news,” DiStasi told WBBM.
We can agree on one thing. It’s very different in the Loop.