About 3 weeks ago I posted on the shortfalls in police staffing of the recently combined districts 12 and 13 in Chicago. Since I’ve also recently been collecting and analyzing aggravated assault and battery data I decided to check the long term trend in these heinous crimes in these combined districts to see if the staffing reductions might have had a deleterious effect.
The data goes back to January 2001 and from that point through early 2014 there was a clear downward trend in the incidence of these crimes. But then it turned around and started to head back up. The only thing is that without further analysis you can’t know if this was a phenomenon unique to the combined 12th and 13th districts or if there were other social factors driving these changes throughout the city. So I decided to compare the trend in districts 12 and 13 to the trend in district 19, which has a crime rate to which we should aspire.
Just to review…the new district 12 essentially includes, among other neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village, East Village, the West Loop, Little Italy, University Village, and Pilsen. District 19 includes Lake View, North Center, and the southern part of Uptown.
I pulled the historic data for both districts and plotted the total incidents by month along with a 12 month moving average since the data is highly seasonal. (Apparently warm weather brings out the worst in people.) In the graph below district 12 is in blue while district 19 is in red and you can click on the graph for a larger version. It looks to me like they combined all the historic district 12 and 13 data since there is no separate district 13 data and there is no discontinuity in the data.
As you can plainly see both districts showed a significant decline in the incidence of aggravated assault and battery through the early part of 2014 with district 12 closing the gap with district 19 during that period. However, since the early part of 2014 the crime rate in the two districts has once again started to diverge. The crime rate in district 19 has risen only slightly while the district 12 crime rate has grown more dramatically. In fact, the 12 month moving average in June was 23% higher than it was at the bottom 2 years ago.
Honestly, it’s impossible to know if this reversal in the new district 12 is related to the cutback in staffing. It’s my understanding that the merger of the two districts actually took place in December 2012, which is a bit more than one year prior to things heading downhill. Of course, was the staffing immediately realigned or was it phased in? And even if staffing levels were cut overnight how long would it take for the effects of that to manifest?
Here’s the bottom line. Regardless of what caused the deterioration in district 12 wouldn’t a greater police presence reverse this troubling trend? So, if you live in district 12 and believe that increasing officer staffing could improve the situation then you should sign the petition to restore adequate police to district 12.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.