The six Chicago police officers this year is not an indication of a national pattern, experts tell the Chicago Tribune. “It doesn’t seem to reflect a trend either for Chicago or for the country as a whole,” said criminologist Wesley Skogan of Northwestern University, who specializes in crime and policing. “In fact, the trends seem to point in the opposite direction. One of the things that has happened over the long haul nationwide is there has been a long, steady decline of shootings of police officers. And there has also been a long, steady decline of police officers shooting other people.”
In Chicago, homicides have been trending down over the last 15 years. Maki Haberfeld of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said more data would need to be collected over several years before conclusions could be drawn about this year’s increase in Chicago police fatalities. “It is concerning. Disrespect for the government and, by extension, police is a slippery slope,” Haberfeld said. “But the circumstances surrounding these deaths are varied.” Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis has stressed that this year’s deaths don’t indicate that police are specifically being targeted. Instead, Weis points to a “breakdown in the value system” in Chicago communities.