Sun Times Takes out Their Tape Measure

For some inexplicable reason that is never backed up in the article Sam Charles decided to analyze how far from home murders take place. All I could think about when I saw the headline for this article was about that driver education class I had back in high school when the state trooper comes in and tells you 95% of accidents happen within 25 miles of home. Seems about right considering most people spend about 95% of their time within 25 miles of their homes. In other words, while the analysis may be valid it certainly isn’t meaningful. Unfortunately, the same goes for Charles’ article. In the end he took out his tape measure and his analysis came up empty.

I am in no way criticizing the analysis but I am certainly criticizing why this ended up in the paper. I cannot for the life of me as a criminologist figure out what this is supposed to mean and how this analysis helps community members better understand their world. I don’t think anyone in Chicago is surprised at all to know that many murders take place in the most under-served communities many times on the block the victim lives.

The article starts out as if this is going to be a really big scoop and then it just fizzles out and leaves you wanting what was promised you in the first couple a paragraphs.

“But Wilson also falls into another statistical category that helps explain why everyone from police officers to community activists are struggling to curb the city’s cycle of violence.

The teen became the 138th Chicago resident murdered on the same block he lived on, and one of 381 people killed from injuries they suffered within 2 miles of their home address, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of Cook County medical examiner’s and Chicago Police Department records.”

Someone please explain to me why these statistics are important and or relevant?

How in the world does this help explain “why everyone from police officers to community activists are struggling to curb the city’s cycle of violence.”?

This might be one of the least supported lines the Sun-Times has ever published. If you do the math 138 murders account for roughly 20% of all murders to date in 2017. Why would this 20% be so detrimental to the police and community activists?

Don’t’ wait for an answer because the article does not provide any answers. It does actually provide some fancy statistics and a pretty data visualization for you to look over.

Just another exploitative Chicago media story that provides little to readers but gets the mighty .

Hint to Chicago media:

Just because you can do an analysis does not mean your results are relevant and worthy of publishing.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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