Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blue, Blue, Our World Is Blue

Click to enlarge
Interesting map showing the violent crime index in Chicago from the Chicago Crime Blog.  Shades of purple denote the lightest incidents of violent crime, then shades of blue are next highest.  Can you find Uptown?  Yup, that big blob of dark blue in the middle of all the shades of purple on the north lakefront.  Statistically, we're equivalent with Hyde Park, Garfield Ridge, East Side, and Hegewisch.


  1. The methodology that produced this map is worth examining. Rather than adjust raw incident data for differences in population, this researcher constructed a different weighting system based on assumptions that may have affected the results. Hard to tell. The rationale for the methodology used was not explained.

    If you take the raw incident data for index crime and calculate the rate per 1,000 (ytd 5/2010), then Rogers Park, Lakeview, and even Lincoln Park lead over Uptown.

    Irish Pirate will be glad to know, though, that the one area of crime where Uptown excels beyond all others is prostitution.

  2. HYDE PARK is "blue?" How the heck are they defining Hyde Park? I lived in that 'hood not so long ago and felt "safer" there than I did in Beautiful Wrigley Field-ville.

    And yes that was BEFORE the Secret Service started sharing turf with the Chicago and U of C cops!

    Most Hyde Parkers define the neighborhood as 50th St. on the North, the Midway Plaisance on the South, the lake on the east and Cottage Grove on the west. If the crime statistics are as high as depicted here, they must be including parts of Woodlawn and Kenwood in the mix.

  3. Local Lassie, I believe Hyde Park's official northern border is 51st St (Hyde Park Blvd). Also, Kenwood's reported violent crime rate seems to be lower than that of Hyde Park (if I am correctly interpreting the shades of blue).

  4. Local Lassie, it doesn't matter how "most Hyde Parkers" define Hyde Park. The stats are for Chicago Neighborhood Area 41, as defined by the city.

  5. It's ok to question data Suzanne, but everytime crime stats are posted on here, you always refute them and make it look like crime is worse elsewhere. Quite the Debbie Downer...

    I think we can all agree that is at unacceptable levels here due to gangs - and it is worse here than surrounding neighborhoods.

  6. I think map is valid. I rather like how the poster weighs different violent crimes differently. Getting shot/killed is undeniably more serious than getting spat upon. (Both of which can be categorized as violent crimes.) Granted, the 5x and 4x are arbitrary, but at least it's a consistant multiplier.

  7. Interesting...I further processed the blog's crime data. Here's the crime data for the surrounding neighborhoods shown as a percentage of Uptown crime index.

    Comm. Area Crime(as % of Uptown)
    North Park 47
    North Center 56
    Lincoln Square 60
    Edgewater 66
    Albany Park 68
    Lincoln Park 71
    Lake View 72
    Irving Park 73
    West Ridge 75
    Uptown 100
    Avondale 119
    Logan Square 126
    Near North Side 127
    West Town 137
    Rogers Park 138

  8. Indeed, Uptown has worse crime than most of the surrounding areas. But, Uptown is ranked 53rd worst out 78 community areas. Clearly many other neighborhoods have it worse, but we expect better up here on the north side.

  9. Suzanne,

    you're a pedantic PITA.

    PITA=Pain in the Arse

    I don't what your agenda is, but it ain't based on truth. Perhaps the left wing version of "truthiness" works for you.

    It's damn clear that if you adjust for shootings and murders that Uptown leads among north lakefront hoods. Lincoln Park and Lakeview are going to have more "index" crimes simply because they have more thriving nightlife and retail.

    Take a look at index crime in Oak Brook. They always look bad because of the crime at the regional mall, but in reality there reported violent crime is almost nil.

    Shootings, homicides, assault with a deadly weapon, and sexual assault are probably the best way to gauge crime in a hood. Imperfect, like my spelin', but if constantly applied then it does give a somewhat realistic picture of what is happening in various neighborhoods.

    We have more shootings in Uptown in some weeks than Lincoln Park or Lakeview have in years.

  10. Miss Kitty, my aim isn’t to point out that crime is worse in other areas but to probe why it is some are intent on believing and promoting the idea that Uptown’s crime profile is worse than it really is.

    The Chicago Tribune recently published an article about just this--the disconnect between people’s perception of crime and the actual incidence.

    Identifying and evaluating this kind of information may not be your cup of tea, which is cool, but this is exactly the kind of information that matters when it comes to policy making. Do you want elected officials affecting statute based on perception or evidence?

    That IP finds that pedantic and a pain in his ass? What can I say? He defaults to animus and name-calling whenever someone says something that challenges the crime meme.

  11. My neighborhood's almost on the bottom of that list you gave, Brad. I'm in the Avondale area. We have just a little bit more crime than you guys in Uptown do, but the gang violence in both neighborhoods is about the same, and it sickens me. The gang violence in this whole city makes me sick. We all deserve safe neighborhoods, and if you haven't done so already, fight for your neighborhood.

  12. why it is some are intent on believing and promoting the idea that Uptown’s crime profile is worse than it really is

    Might be the gunfire.

  13. So how would you map Chicago crime, Suzanne?

    I think it is pretty reasonable to weight the crimes by severity while also controlling for differences in population density unless, of course, something about the weighting causes radically different classifications of the neighborhoods. (For example if one neighborhood inexplicably has more sexual assaults but comes across as less violent because these are weighted less than manslaughter.) I agree that there isn't a perfect ordinal ranking of these crimes but I don't see how that matters so much unless you get a significantly different map with each weighting scheme.

    Here's the description of how the map was created for those who didn't catch it...

    "It’s a weighted average, 5 times the number of murders plus 4 times the manslaughter plus 3 times the criminal sexual assaults plus the aggravated batteries plus the aggravated assaults plus the robberies. It does not include burglaries or larcenies."

  14. The problem, Suzanne, is that you constantly chime in to nit pick over everything that doesn't fit your agenda and your own "truth".

    How in the heck are you going to get anyone to support your view that crime in Uptown is no worse than other nearby areas? It's a no-win argument you're making, but you make it anyway.

    I can only think of one other person who would share your view, and she just recently announced she's walking off into the sunset of Chicago politics.

  15. Dudes and Dudettes....

    No offense, but I grew up in hoods where there were NEVER any shootings. Never. (there was one kid who killed his mother and stuffed her in a cedar closet, that is it.) When I moved out on my own, I got very used to the shootings eventually.

    Look at the 19th ward and the 11th ward on the map. VERY LOW CRIME. Why don't you liberals explain the difference?

  16. Great. Now City Council is going to ban cedar closets.

  17. Sassy, it’s like what Mark Twain said, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

    I start with the simple stuff. Map crime per 1,000. You can group crime data as index v. non-index or you can evaluate specific crimes. Up to you. But before you move past simple, population adjusted measures, it’s good to know what those population-adjusted measures are. And when you do, whaddya know, that map doesn’t sync with this map.

    So is it reasonable to conclude that the author’s data source or weighting scheme account for the disparities? It’s worth a look. Why? To start, not all data sources are created equal and intensity measures are subjective. And in election years, those feelings are targeted.

    Here’s an example, on first blush you may believe the mapmakers assumptions reasonable. But are they? I don’t think so. Beyond the legal questions and sentencing, what reason is there to distinguish between murder and manslaughter? I’m not at all prepared to argue that someone who has lost a loved one to manslaughter grieves any less than the person who has lost a loved one to murder. Are you? I mean, why even go there?

    Does this mean the mapmaker’s weighting scheme is wrong-headed? No. But it does beg the question: What is the purpose of the weighting scheme?

    The thing I keep coming back to, the thing I want my neighbors to consider, and the thing that apparently disturbs the tender sensitivities of IP and Refugee is this: Consider your “facts.” Others may have some game in getting you to believe one “map” over another. Look at data, look at underlying assumptions and consider spin incentives.

  18. Ms. Suzanne, I'm not sure what planet you're coming from?

    Anyone who says 'consider the spin' seems like a big red flag to me.

    As my mother used to say, what you're saying 'doesn't wash the chickens'

  19. YO,

    If I was in charge, you would win BEST EVER BLOG COMMENT for that. LOL!!

  20. Suzanne,

    to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan you're entitled to your opinions, not your facts.

    You can twist and "adjust raw incident data" all you want to try to fit your "meme", but in the end it doesn't change the facts.

    When it comes to violence Uptown leads the way compared to neighboring areas. Now you can add in retail related crimes or property crimes and perhaps then Uptown appears to have less "index" crime than some other neighboring areas.

    I'm not really overly concerned if some kid gets arrested at Best Buy in Lincoln Park for trying to steal an IPOD. Depending on how it was charged that could be an "index" crime.

    I am concerned about some idiot banger shooting across Wilson Avenue at Broadway and hitting a young mother who has her child with her. I am concerned about some Truman student being gunned down because of mistaken identity.

    I am concerned about the women who are afraid to go out after dark because of fear of crime or the kids who have to avoid the park because gang violence may break out at any moment.

    Now do those things exist in neighboring hoods? Not nearly to the extent they do in Uptown.

    Now you can argue that fear of crime is overwrought. You can argue that perception isn't reality, but at some point the fear of crime, whether the fear is justified or not, harms the overall neighborhood and society.

    You're passive aggressive, pedantic, overuse of academic terminology doesn't change the facts.

    Those facts may not make you feel all warm and fuzzy. The only one spinning here is you.

    Now you wrote that I "He defaults to animus and name-calling whenever someone says something that challenges the crime meme".

    Actually I defaulted to animus and name calling when you once again tried to obfuscate the facts for reasons only known or perhaps unknown to yourself.

    Now for months I've sat at my computer and read your distortions of what is happening in Uptown. I let the better angels of my nature keep me from defaulting to my "aggressive aggressive" posture.

    No more. It's too much. There is too much fear and blood on the streets of Uptown for me to sit here and let you spew your inanity without a comment.

    As for animus I voted for you when you ran against Heather Steans. I'm glad to say the better candidate won.

    Whatever her faults she doesn't downplay crime to further some political or psychological agenda that I don't quite comphrehend.


  21. Twain said a lot stuff.

    Here's something which he said, offered for thought fodder:

    To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.

  22. Oh, Irish. My own personal meme? Really? If that were even possible, it might be:

    THINK more, REACT less.

    You just don't want to evaluate any "facts" of any flavor other than the ones that fit your script? Fine. Heck, you could just make 'em up as you go. And spin? You're right. It's of no matter. Hyperbolic hissing will get the job done. It's not like someone someday might want to sell an airport or anything.

    Thanks for your vote several years ago. And yes, Heather is a good Senator and I enjoy working with her. Unlike you, dear, when asked for data and explanations, academic or otherwise, she's happy to receive them and she factors in the information to craft good policy and move forward. It's what makes her good at her job.

    You should try it.

  23. Maybe you should all spend less time quibbling over where crime is worse (we all know its bad enough, who cares what neighborhood is worse, this is like people being proud that Wilson El was the crappiest station again this year). Crime is a problem in Uptown, let's focus on putting forth some sort of solutions. No good will come from useless banter about crime stats. I hear the gunshots and I see the gangbangers outside on Hazel everyday, I don't need stats to tell me it is a problem, and frankly, I could care less if it is better or worse in Rogers Park! LETS FIX UPTOWN! ONE LOVE COMMUNITY!

  24. Thank you, ChiTownPhilly. You took the words right out of my mouth. The fact of the matter is, you can bend statistics to fit whatever agenda you like, but it doesn't negate the fact that gunshots are heard, people are dead, and crime is abundant in Uptown.

    I've lived in other parts of the city, and I never saw the amount of crime and violence in those parts that I've seen here in Uptown. The simple fact of the matter is that Uptown is a violent, dangerous area that needs fixing. Now, no amount of political spinning, academic talk, public posturing, or name-calling will make me believe otherwise.

  25. Couldn't agree more, ChiTownPilly...

  26. Suzanne,

    the Tao of "Dirty Harry" comes to mind: "you're a legend in your own mind".

    Now your own personal meme, which I think Dawkins would understand, is "look at me, over here, I use academic jargon, lather, rinse, repeat. I'm good enough and I'm a policy person. I have importance. Look at me."

    Now this is getting, gotten, overly personal so I'll end it.

    As Yo said "might be the gunfire".

    Might be the gunfire. That sums up the difference between Uptown and our neighbors tersely and elegantly.

  27. Irish, you say you want to stop the personal stuff but you throw in a couple of elbows for good measure? Yikes. You just can’t help yourself, can you? It must be the pseudonym. Try using your real name. If you’d like to continue debating the merits of my suggestion to evaluate things for oneself or my answer to Sassy’s question, feel free to call the Legend Hotline at 773-718-2822 or email me directly at :-)))

  28. Suzanne- I get my facts from the street corner 1/2 block from my house where there have been shooting nearly every week this summer. When crime is literally at our doorstep like this, people in the neighborhood take it very seriously. We are not over-exagerating the crime, we are telling people what we see and hear happening where we live.
    Add together the shootings in Rogers Park, Lakeview and Lincoln Park this summer and it won't even be 1/2 the number we have had in Uptown.
    I think it's common sense to see that we have more serious issues in Uptown that exceeds the pick-pocketing arrests that make up the crime statistics in the mentioned neighborhoods.
    Not once have I ever seen a hooker or drug deal in broad daylight in any of these other mentioned neighborhoods (where I do spend a considerable amount of time)yet when I walk to or from the train it is a regular occurance in Uptown.

  29. Suzanne,

    if you witnessed a gangbanger shooting someone at Broadway and Wilson your description of the offender would probably be something like this:

    A carbon based, bi pedal organism of the mammalian variety. Likely a homo sapien, but I feel the need to debate that or at least explore that. After all what is a homo sapien?

    Simply put your comments and take on many things regarding Uptown are nothing more than a "load".

    You're entitled to opinions, not facts. Any reasonable person recognizes violent crime in Uptown is higher than neighboring areas. There can be no debate on that point.

    You can debate why, or how to reduce it, but not the fact that it's true. You would debate that fact endlessly and in fact dispute it.

    If you want an endless debate that leads nowhere please contact J P Paulus. I think you two might be soulmates.

  30. Suzanne, how do you think this guy's methodology makes Uptown look worse than it is? The one thing you pointed to - manslaughters counting less than murders in the weighting - seems to me to do nothing for your argument.

    Your comments on this blog over the past couple months have become ever more and more mystifying and easier and easier to disregard as rantings of someone blinded by either ideology or irrational contrarianism to what is actually happening in our neighborhood. Either way, you've completely lost me and I suspect many others here.