An end of year audit released by the City of Chicago revealed what many criminal defense attorneys, like myself, have noticed from their observation of the traffic at local criminal courthouses. The number of physical arrests by Chicago Police officers has been declining and continues to decline. In 2006, Chicago police made 227,576 arrests. In 2008 the number of arrests dropped to 196,621. Last year, 2009, that number dropped to 181,254. While there is no obvious explanation for these declining numbers, it should be pointed out that budget constraints have left the Chicago Police Department woefully understaffed. Some estimates place the police department with a shortage of at least 2,000 officers below the numbers they should have. There has been a slow down in hiring and the City of Chicago and the Police department have been struggling to make up these shortages in this difficult economic environment. We have previously reported about the drop in the reported crime rate and the declining population in the Cook County Jail.
We will keep an eye out on these numbers and the related causes.
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