Chicago police did not count about a quarter of the aggravated assault and aggravated battery victims in its crime statistics in 2012, a year in which the city was under a national microscope because of rising violence, an audit by the city’s top watchdog found.
The department failed to follow state guidelines by counting each aggravated assault or battery as one incident, not each victim as it should have , leading to the under-reporting because of all the incidents that involved more than one victim.
That means that Chicago statistics on aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries, which include shootings in which someone was wounded but not killed, were under-reported to the Illinois State Police and FBI.
The 24-page report by the inspector general’s office focused on Chicago’s crime statistics for 2012, a year when soaring homicides brought unflattering national attention to the city. During news conferences throughout that year, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to deflect attention away from the rise in killings – which hit the 500-mark for only the second time in a decade – by consistently emphasizing the drop in overall crime.
The report took a look at a sampling of 383 “assault-related crimes” and found that there were 95 total victims in the 72 aggravated assault and aggravated battery incidents reported to the state police. That meant that Chicago police underreported the number of victims for those crimes by 24 percent because the department did not follow the state’s crime reporting guidelines that require that each victim be counted.