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Chicago on the Brink




Violence in Chicago is way up this year. Heather MacDonald contends that one the mains reasons for the trouble is that a false narrative about racist police targeting blacks for stops has gained currency. That has put the police under pressure to disengage from the communities that most need a police presence.

MacDonald writes: “On January 1, 2016, the police department rolled out a new form for documenting investigatory stops, developed to meet ACLU demands. The new form, traditionally called a contact card, was two pages long and contained a whopping 70 fields of information to be filled out, including three narrative sections. (Those narrative sections were subsequently combined to try to quiet criticism.) The new contact card dwarfs even arrest reports and takes at least 30 minutes to complete. Every contact card is forwarded to the ACLU. Stops dropped nearly 90 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Detectives had long relied on the information contained in contact cards to solve crimes. […] Earlier this year, a detective working armed robbery had a pattern of two male Hispanics with tattoos on their faces sticking up people in front of their homes. But virtually no contact cards had been written in the area for three months. So he made car stops in the neighborhood himself, coming across the stolen car used in the robberies and the parolees responsible for the crimes. This is not a maximally efficient division of labor.”

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