CPD supt. praises 'significant decline' in shootings, homicides against juvenile victims this year

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner via WLS logo
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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"There's a significant decline in juvenile victims to both shootings and homicides this year," CPD Supt. Brown said during his Monday press conference.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In his regular weekend violence briefing, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said shootings and homicides where juveniles are victims are down significantly so far this year compared to last. But the police department's own data suggests a slightly different view.

"There's a significant decline in juvenile victims to both shootings and homicides this year," Superintendent Brown said during his Monday press conference.

Brown seems to be pointing to this number: 253 shooting victims, wounded or dead, age 19 and younger, versus 293 last year at this time. That is a nearly 14-percent decline. But then CPD's own data, obtained and analyzed by the I-Team, shows the number of juvenile homicide victims in the city is actually up nearly 3 percent over last year; no matter how they were killed.

Former Des Plaines police chief Bill Kushner, who worked violent crimes for years in Chicago police districts, said data can be parsed and proclaimed in many ways. He said the 2.9 percent decline in fatal shootings of juveniles is nothing to boast about.

"I would say looking at the numbers, there's not a significant decrease in anything, you know, 2.9% equates to one victim," Kushner told the I-Team. "I think people would have to question, or should question, what he considers significant. Obviously, his interpretation of the word significant and mine are basically different. I know if my staff came to me and said, 'Hey, boss we have one less murder than we had last year, we really enacted knocked it out of the park, it's a significant reduction,' I would have thrown him out of the office. That's not a significant reduction. We're not talking about a significant number in decreasing the homicides. Homicide rates are incredibly high as compared to what they were 10 years ago."

"Juveniles are either victims and are offenders of gun violence, and we take it very seriously. And we are continuing to make progress in this area," said Superintendent Brown.

Whether CPD's juvenile crime data is a glass half full or half empty depends on which numbers you look at, and who's describing it. But Kushner said the reduction in total shootings of children and teenagers this year at the same time fatalities are about steady backs up a dangerous crime trend.

Kushner said more rounds are being fired by shooters with high capacity magazines who mimic what they see on TV and video games: fire until the gun is empty.