Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicago Criminal lawyer wonders if an offense is unreported, is a crime committed?

"Hi Ava", he said as my mom and I walked into the coffee shop today, eager to get out of the wind and cold. I looked up and smiled brightly at the young man behind the counter. He's my hero from 2009. As I sipped my hot cider, and my mom enjoyed the "best cappucino" she'd had during her weekend visit to the city, it all came back to me.

Last year, during a break between court appearances, I sat down in this same coffee shop to work on my netbook. Like pretty much everyone else, I had my phone on the table next to my computer. As I worked, two kids entered the store and began asking for "donations"; after soliciting one other patron, they came to me. Once I shooed them away from my table, I realized that they hurriedly left the store, without asking any of the store's many other patrons for a "contribution". My heart began to beat faster as I looked around me and... Bingo! My phone was gone. I yelled out, left my netbook at my table in thoughtless haste, and gave chase. My hero jumped from behind the counter and took off, quicker than I, after the two kids. He caught them, I caught up to all of them, and he and I got my phone back. The kids took off again before we could call the cops.

I didn't file a police report. Today I stopped drinking my hot cider with that realization. Tarnation! Is crime really and truly down?


Chicago Police released their preliminary crime statistics for November on Friday, which showed an overall drop in violent crime and a drop in most property crimes, aside from a slight increase in reported burglaries. "We are pleased to see consistent drops in violent crime coincide with an increase in this year's weapon recoveries," Supt. Jody Weis said in a statement. "We will aggressively focus on removing even more guns from the hands of gang members and violent criminals as we head toward the end of 2009 and the beginning of a new year." Compared to November of 2008, Chicago saw a drop in murders this November by 13 percent, a 10 percent decrease in criminal sexual assaults, a 4.9 percent decrease in robbery, a 9.3 percent decrease in aggravated assault and a 7.7 percent drop in aggravated battery, according to a release from police News Affairs.
For crimes, other than murder, is there a real decline, or is it merely a decline in reported crime?

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful thought-provoking piece. Your experien ce begs an excellent question. I'd never thought about the fact that homicide is infinitely easier to quantify than many other crimes whose victims are living. (Side note: I love "Tarnation!") Oh, and I'm very glad that you got your phone back.