Serious crime is up but arrests are down in Chicago, and some police officers say they are working the streets less aggressively out of resentment toward their new chief and fear of being second-guessed by him, reports the Associated Press. “People are doing just what they need to get through” their shifts, said Lt. Robert Weisskopf, president of the Chicago police lieutenants union. In addition to making fewer arrests, police are seizing fewer guns and frisking gang members less often than they did before Superintendent Jody Weis was brought in to clean up a department embarrassed by a string of brutality cases.
Department spokeswoman Monique Bond disputed the notion of any deliberate slowdown by police, saying, “There is nothing that we have to prove or support a theory like that.” She suggested instead that the drop in arrests means officers are focusing on serious crimes instead of such offenses as disorderly conduct and public drinking. But some members of the police department, both publicly and privately, blame low morale and fear of investigation by Weis, a former FBI agent who took over in February. Through August, the department made 103,589 arrests (not including arrests for outstanding arrest warrants) compared with 117,971 for the same period last year. The 5,600 guns recovered is roughly half as many as police seized in the same period in 2007.