The major crimes — so-called “index crimes” — are murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery, burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.
Theft reports are up 56%. Motor vehicle thefts are up 37%. Burglaries up 13%. Aggravated batteries and criminal sexual assaults are both up 12%.
But not everything is horrible on the latest CompStat report. Murders were down 16% during the first 23 days of January compared to last year. You can bet CPD brass will be parading that number around if it can be maintained through the end of the month. Unfortunately, this year’s murder tally is still 38% higher than the same time in 2020 and 100% higher than the comparable period in 2019.
Robberies were also down modestly, with 42 fewer cases citywide through the first 23 days of the year compared to 2021. CPD can credit a decline in carjackings, a subcategory of robberies, for the reduction. Compared to last year, vehicular hijackings were down 32% from 163 to 111 through the first 23 days of this month.
As bad as the citywide numbers look, some local police districts are downright embarrassing.
Take, for example, the Central (1st) District, which patrols the Loop, South Loop, and Bronzeville. Index crime there is up 151% compared to the opening days of 2021. It’s even up double-digits when compared to pre-COVID years. Up 66% compared to 2020; 38% compared to 2019; 14% compared to 2018.
Every single index crime is up by significant numbers, except murder, which is flat. Criminal sexual assault is up 33%. Robbery up 63%. Burglary 400%. Theft 131%.
Motor vehicle thefts in the district — there’ve been 87 so far — are up 278% year-over-year and up 569% compared to 2020 and 2019. Most of those thefts involve cars that people leave running while they run into a restaurant or carry out some other “quick” task.
The Near North (18th) District, patrolling River North, Streeterville, Old Town, and Lincoln Park up to Fullerton Avenue, had a 63% index crime increase this year compared to 2021. Thefts, motor vehicle thefts, robberies, and criminal sexual assaults are driving the increase.
Index crime is up 47% in the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) District. Burglaries, thefts, and motor vehicle thefts are all showing strong increases with thefts and motor vehicle thefts at four-year highs. Good news: Robberies and criminal sexual assault reports are down so far.
Farther north, the Lincoln (20th) and Rogers Park (24th) Districts are seeing more modest index crime increases of 33% and 26% respectively, according to the January 23 CompStat report. Thefts and motor vehicle thefts are on the rise in both areas.
CPD’s Shakespeare (14th) District, which patrols Bucktown, Wicker Park, and most of Logan Square, is also seeing a sharp increase in thefts — up 121% compared to last year. Overall index crime is up 23% so far compared to 2021, but it’s down compared to 2020, 2019, and 2018, according to the report.
Finally, the Near West (12th) District, which handles West Loop, parts of West Town, Ukrainian Village, United Center, and some adjoining areas recorded a 57% index crime increase as of January 23. Thefts were way up — from 44 to 102, the highest of any year on the CompStat report. So far this year, index crime in the district is 66% higher than before COVID in 2020, 6% higher than 2019 and 3% higher than 2018.
If you’re looking for a bright spot, consider the West Side’s 11th District, which includes North Lawndale, Garfield Park, and Humboldt Park. Index crime is down 16% so far this year, according to the district’s January 23 CompStat report. Murders are down 86%, from seven to one. Robberies are at a rock-bottom 25 for the year, down 42% from last year.
The Albany Park (17th) District, which includes Irving Park and much of Avondale, is the best performer citywide. Index crime is down 18% through the first 23 days of the year, according to CompStat. Robberies plunged 67% from 21 last year to seven. Burglaries and thefts are down, too. But those pesky motor vehicle thefts are a problem, up 40% this year.