Magazine: Has ‘Magic Ink’ Improved Chicago Crime Stats?


Chicago magazine says its examination of the Chicago Police Department’s 2013 crime statistics uncovered examples of reclassification and downgrading of crimes “for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.” The magazine said it had identified 10 possible homicides that were downgraded to more minor crimes and dozens of other offenses, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether.

Police officers say they were asked or pressured by their superiors to reclassify their incident reports. In some cases, reports were changed by some invisible hand. One detective referred to “magic ink” that makes a case disappear. The number of cases constitute a tiny percentage of the more than 300,000 reported in Chicago last year. But sources described a practice that has become widespread as police brass have become fixated on demonstrating improvement in Chicago's woeful crime statistics.

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