The Chicago Police Department (CPD) unveiled an online “Gun Offender Dashboard” on Aug. 5, listing adults arrested with at least one felony weapons-related charge and any associated bond information.
Officials called the dashboard, which is updated every Wednesday, “a collaborative effort to keep Chicago safe and aware”—and it is presumably the CPD’s attempt to show that adults charged with gun offenses receive no or low bond amounts and are back on the streets committing violent crimes shortly after their arrests.
“Our commitment to transparency includes providing the public with information related to the gun crimes and arrests impacting our communities each day,” said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “We will continue collaborating with our partners to ensure gun offenders are held accountable in a manner consistent with a fair and impartial criminal justice system.”
Not everyone is happy with the database. Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said CPD is “flaunting bond court stats as if [arrestees] have already been convicted. This is another example of police using a list of people who are presumed innocent as a red herring to distract from the real issue of the day: the CPD’s failure to arrest the individuals who are shooters and who continue to wreak havoc in Chicago.”
Is she right? The CPD already publishes information on its website regarding arrests, including mug shots and bond amounts. Information on the dashboard is already available to the public.
CPD officials said that anyone listed on the dashboard is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
In a media report, Campanelli said that data released by Chief Judge Timothy Evans since he implemented reforms two years ago show that less than 1 percent of those arrested for any charges and released on bond are then arrested for a violent crime while free on bond.
The more information made easily available to the public on crime, the better. Johnson responded at length to Campanelli’s comments, and he said the dashboard “is one of the CPD’s many early efforts to create better data transparency and honest discussions about issues that are important to many Chicagoans.”
The fight against gun violence in Chicago is never-ending, and the city needs all the help it can get. The dashboard could prove to be a valuable tool for monitoring those charged with committing gun crimes.
To view the dashboard, visit home.chicagopolice.org/online-services/data-dashboards.