Chicago's Police Department Is Making Big Changes

via Flickr

William Anderson
November 12, 2019

Today, Chicago is a city often best known for its violence and corrupt government. And they’re attempting to change their reputation in one major way: raising their clearance rates.

A clearance rate is how effective police are at solving crime. High clearance rates mean police are solving a lot of crimes, but in Chicago, the police have long had low clearance rates. It got so bad that now they’re changing how they do things to try to get their numbers up. 

A nonprofit studied the issues with the Chicago Police Department, and made recommendations. ABC7 reports some recommendations include “increasing the number of detectives, and developing a consistent protocol for assigning and investigating homicide cases.”

The report also says there should be a designated homicide unit in each of the bureaus. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Superintendent Garry McCarthy reduced the city's police areas from five to three. The report recommends reversing this.

Sadly, when it comes to Black Chicagoans, our killings are more likely to go unsolved. Information obtained by WBEZ Chicago showed that the clearance rate for Black people was about HALF that of white people. Can the changes address this racial disparity?

Chicago pours a lot of money into its police instead of prioritizing community resources, but the numbers are still showing that crime is going unsolved. This problem is deeper than training. It’s about how cities choose to fight crime, and so far, that’s still mostly happening on the back end.

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