I received a great comment from a reader the other day that encouraged me to write this post. In the comment, "siltsaltsand" explained that he used CPD data to come to a different set of conclusions about Hyde Park crime, showing that crime might actually be higher in 2012 than 2011. Because I know that UCPD statistics are often incomplete, it seemed very possible to me that the CPD data sources might show a different picture of things than those from UChicago.
To get a better sense of this picture, I used Chicago DataPortal numbers to look at violent crime incidents in the Hyde Park area. The data on that site are "extracted from the Chicago Police Department's CLEAR (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) system" (Source), and should reflect exactly what is reported to the CPD. For incidents, I looked at the following index crimes:
- Sexual Assault
|(Map taken from ClearPath Chicago Police Department website)|
The included three beats, Beats 235, 234, and 233, represent the vast majority of Hyde Park residents and UChicago community members. The areas outside of these beats have much lower income and property values, and are really not part of the Hyde Park/University area persay. As the City of Chicago defines it, Hyde Park is really constituted by the boundaries of East Hyde Park Blvd. (North), 61st Street (South), Cottage Grove (West), and Lake Michigan (East). The beats above best represent that area, both from the municipal perspective and the community perspective.
2011 AND 2012 ANALYSIS : 29% DECREASE IN VIOLENT CRIME
Between January 1 and December 27, 2011, there were a total of 758 violent incidents in the Hyde Park area (Beats 235, 234, and 233). In 2012, however, there were only 537 such incidents recorded during that time period. This represents an impressive 29% decrease in area violent crime, far more than the 12% decrease suggested by the UCPD data.
The table below summarizes the totals by year for each index crime mentioned. All crimes occurred in the Hyde Park area (235, 234, and 233).
|Crime||# incidents |
|# incidents |
Of all the entries in this table, the most interesting are Battery and Robbery. Battery incidents experienced a huge decrease from 2011 to 2012. On the other hand, there were also 25 additional robberies in 2012, another crime that has big implications for public safety.
Overall, however, the picture is extremely positive for both our neighborhood and our University. Violent crime continue to decrease in the area, including those crimes that are most likely to impact students. Although robberies increased, this was more than offset by the decrease in battery and assault. Additional patrolling, citizen vigilance, and police intelligence will likely make it possible to have yet another reduction at the end of 2013. Speaking specifically on robberies, my guess is that the increase in handheld device technology led to a similar increase in robberies (although I admittedly have no numerical evidence for that). That is to say, the problem is not that there are more robbers in the area, but rather that there is much more opportunity for robbery.
In my last post, I used UCPD data to show that UChicago experienced a 12% drop in violent crime. Here, we see that CPD data tells a similar, perhaps even more heartening, story about area violence. A 29% drop is huge, one that Superintendent McCarthy would move mountains to say is true of the entire city. In 2012 as in 2011, Hyde Park just remains a safe place to live and learn.
As a final note, this inquiry also highlighted the glaring discrepancies between CPD and UCPD data. In robberies alone, the UCPD only recorded 71 and 50 robberies in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The CPD recorded 82 and 107. As the UCPD reminds us in its website, their data only reflects crimes reported directly to their offices, which might account for the differences. Even so, it is good to know for the future that the UCPD incident reports have some sizable reporting gaps that could definitely affect later analyses.