Some Context on Sept. Homicide Numbers

If you are watching the news in Chicago you cannot help but be inundated with reporting on the September’s homicide numbers that are provided without the needed context to help Chicagoans makes sense of what is really going on and how it compares to previous year. The main context needed is that while we are still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic you cannot compare year to year crime numbers in a reliable and valid way. The pandemic is a unique once in a hundred year event that is an unprecedented in its ability to add devastating stress across every aspect of peoples’ lives.

In today’s show we discuss a report by Matt Masterson at WTTW and look at the inappropriate manner in which crime data is presented without the needed context and the way Masterson switches from comparing data from 30 years ago and last year without discussing why he cannot consistently use data from 30 years ago. The reality is the media just cannot help themselves but use the homicide statistic as the barometer for how the police are doing when in reality the police have very little to do with whether someone lives or dies once the gun his fired. If the media was really interested in context and data driven reporting they would use the shooting stat as that is a more appropriate statistic to use but that makes it much harder to write splashy headlines that get clicks.

Also on the show today:

  • Chip Mitchell from WBEZ on Twitter raising a good point
  • COPA being underfunded even under Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Video from today’s show

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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Chicago Justice Podcast

This is our Chicago Justice Podcast that covers crime, violence, and justice issues in Chicago. We will feature deep dives in to justice system data, interview with researchers and justice system reform advocates, as well as evaluations of justice system practices.

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