Are Chicago's latest crime statistics correct?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Are Chicago's latest crime statistics correct? The police superintendent faced questions from city aldermen on Friday.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy defended how his department tallies and reports crime statistics. The latest report shows Chicago's murder rate is down, the lowest number in years.

On Friday, McCarthy, surrounded by his staff, criticized news organizations for the amount of time they devote to covering crime in Chicago and the perception they are creating that Chicago is the crime capital in the county when violent crime is actually down in the city.

"Through the first seven months of this year, murders are down 55 percent from 20 years ago, and down 40 percent from 10 years ago, and down seven percent from last year's record-setting lows," said McCarthy.

"We will not rest until every person in the city of Chicago and every community feels the effect of what those statistics are talking about," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The alderman in attendance did not buy into the superintendent's remarks about actual crime statistics versus the perception of crime.

"The superintendent is talking about back-office material, stats, how people get charged, how people get documented. That is all useless. What we really want to talk about is why we do not have enough officers on the street to prevent the crime," said Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward.

"What we keep hearing is that all the citizens of the city misperceive what crime really is, and our perception for it is different than what the superintendent says it really is," said Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward.

Many of the aldermen felt short-changed, saying they were not getting the hard answers they wanted and that perception is a real concern.

"My son was in Ghana and some kids were getting an opportunity to come here for a program and when they heard that they were going to come to Chicago, they started crying," said Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward.

Burnett says he feels for the parents of young people living in this city.

"If you have a minority young man in your family, you are always on pins and needles every time they walk out of the house because you do not know what is going to happen you are always worried," said Ald. Burnett.

"Shootings and murders are not isolated here on the South and West side. We need more manpower," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

McCarthy stressed that the department is transparent in the way its tracks and reports crime, and that statistics are very important in determining and helping them to fight crime in Chicago and to be able to deploy resources to areas that need it the most. It is an ongoing process to find what is working and what needs to be adjusted to reduce crime and violence in specific districts.
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