Chicago Official Suppressing Crime Coverage

( – A quick review of the latest reports on the Illinois Policy Institute website detailing Chicago crime rates paints a mind-numbing picture of a city in decline. The accompanying grim headlines include: “Chicago crime: Assaults up 7% for the year, as women targeted,” “Violent crime surges 26% at Chicago public schools,” and “Report: Chicago violent crime spikes 11%.” A Chicago official recently started suppressing crime coverage amid these grim statistical realities.

On May 29, Chicago’s 48th Ward Alderwoman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth posted an announcement on her website regarding an update to her Public Safety Alert system. The Democratic lawmaker previously posted crime alerts on her social media pages.

Manaa-Hoppenworth said she would stop doing so “based on feedback” from her constituents, consistent with her “commitment” to Chicagoans “values of empowerment, antiracism, and community.” She advised that subscribers to her weekly newsletter could “opt-in” to receive those notices.

The lawmaker provided additional details regarding her decision/excuse for suppressing the crime coverage from followers of her social media accounts. Manaa-Hoppenworth said her “constituents” let her office know they didn’t want to receive crime alerts anymore “unless there was an active threat to their safety.”

The alderwoman also claimed that recent research backed up her decision to limit her release of information. She said studies showed that “over-reporting” criminal activity leads to an “inaccurate public perception [regarding] violent crime rates and negatively impacts [Chicago’s] most marginalized and underserved neighborhoods.”

Manaa-Hoppenworth was kind enough to provide a hyperlink to an article supporting her claims. However, the link lands on an article on a local PBS member television station, WTTW. The source of the alderwoman’s claim regarding crime rates turned out to be the co-founder and publisher of a digital media platform covering the experiences of black Chicago residents — AND NOT a published research study.

That portion of the announcement concluded by advising her constituents that opting to receive alerts didn’t guarantee they would receive one “for every instance of crime” in her ward. In other words, her suppression of information also extends to people who took the time to subscribe to her newsletter and click the box to receive crime alerts.

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