Police Abuse

Chicago Police Executed More Than 11,000 Search Warrants in Mostly Poor Neighborhoods Over 5-Year Period

As Chicago launches an internal probe of search warrants, new data shows where police are kicking in doors.


New public records show Chicago police executed more than 11,000 search warrants over a five-year period, predominantly in the city's low-income and minority neighborhoods, and nearly half of them did not result in an arrest.

Data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Lucy Parson Labs, a police accountability and transparency nonprofit in Chicago, shows that Chicago police executed 11,247 search warrants between 2012 and 2017, most of them heavily concentrated in the South and West Side of the city.

Distribution of executed search warrants by Chicago police, 2012-2017

"It looks very much looks like the stop-and-frisk data sets that we've released, very much like the asset forfeiture data we released," Lucy Parsons Labs director Freddy Martinez says. "It seems to match all of the enforcement patterns that we've seen over time by CPD, and follows the historical trend of where police are generating their activities, which is mostly poor neighborhoods."

The public records come just days after Chicago's Inspector General Joe Ferguson announced his office is investigating how Chicago police vet information and execute search warrants. The investigation was sparked by a string of lawsuits and a year-long series of stories by local news outlet CBS 2 that revealed a pattern of Chicago police executing busting into the wrong houses and terrorizing innocent families.

Sloppy, unverified search warrants led heavily armed Chicago police and SWAT officers to ransack houses; hold families, including children, at gunpoint; and handcuff an eight-year-old child in one case, CBS 2 found. In another case, 17 Chicago police officers burst into a family's house with their guns drawn during a 4-year-old's birthday party.

"Every one of these incidents is an aggravator and a perpetuator of mistrust that exists," Ferguson said announcing the inspector general investigation. "It really calls for a greater accountability and examination."

Chicago attorney Al Hofeld, Jr. has filed six lawsuits against the city on behalf of families who say there were wrongly subjected to violent, traumatizing police raids. In an interview with Reason, Hofeld called such raids a "silent epidemic that's being inflicted on a mass scale on kids in Chicago."

"Our work and CBS' work has uncovered the fact that these wrong, raids where they traumatize children, occur frequently in the city, and for decades it's been kind of an ugly fact that's been overlooked," he says.

In Hofeld's newest lawsuit, filed last week, a Chicago family claims police officers raided their house three times in four months looking for someone they say they don't even know.

Last June, Chicago settled a civil lawsuit by one family who claimed CPD officers stormed their house and pointed a gun at a three-year-old girl for $2.5 million. This June, two Chicago police officers were indicted on federal criminal charges alleging they paid off informants, lied to judges to secure search warrants, and stole cash and drugs from locations they raided.

Lucy Parsons Labs struggled for a year to get the data from the Chicago Police Department, which originally claimed the records did not exist.

The data shows just under 47 percent of the search warrants issued between 2012 and 2017 did not result in an arrest. However, a lack of an accompanying arrest is not necessarily an indicator of a botched raid. For example, the police may obtain warrants to search phones and other electronics. In nearly 800 of the search warrants, the address was listed on or near Homan Square, where the Chicago Police Department's Evidence and Recovered Property Section is located.

There are other curious spikes in the data, though. For example, Reason's analysis found that in most neighborhoods there were more search warrants that resulted in an arrest than did not. But in the Near West Side neighborhood, there were 160 search warrants executed over the five-year period that did not result in an arrest, compared to just 56 that did. The numbers don't explain the cause of that disparity, unfortunately.

"It's pretty hard to say one way or the other without access to more data," says Matt Chapman, an independent journalist and self-described "civic hacker" who helped Lucy Parsons Labs visualize the data. "We had to go to the state attorney general's office for a year to get this stuff. Unfortunately, we can't make a strong conclusion because we don't have as much info as we'd hoped, but we're hoping Chicago will release more information in response to our requests."

Chapman says, however, that the difference in the sheer number of search warrants was clear when he mapped the data onto a block grid of Chicago.

"The distribution is all in the South and West Side, whereas in the North Side most of the points didn't even get filled in," Chapman says. "Barely any search warrants happen on North Side. It's very clear that this is lopsided."

The data also show that search warrant executions declined from 2,278 in 2012 to 1,575 in 2017. That same year, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division released a damning 164-page report that found Chicago police routinely used poor police tactics that resulted in unnecessary and unconstitutional force, including against minors.

Reason has been reporting on the scourge of wrong-door SWAT raids for more than a decade. Radley Balko wrote in 2006 about the frequency and tragic outcomes of botched raids. They are often the result of poor information and a failure to do basic vetting, like checking to see if the subject of a search warrant still lives at the address. But they're also a consequence of the militarization of police. The use of SWAT teams rose from around 3,000 deployments per year in 1980 to as high as 80,000 a year currently.

Chicago is not alone. In 2016, New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board reviewed hundreds of cases and found scores of illegal or botched home searches by NYPD officers.

In response to a request for comment, the Chicago Police Department said it was prohibited from commenting due to the pending inspector general investigation.

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  1. “Unfortunately, we can’t make a strong conclusion because we don’t have as much info as we’d hoped, but we’re hoping Chicago will release more information in response to our requests.”

    I’m sure the city will be more cooperative about releasing information now that the information they delayed releasing for years has put them in a potentially bad light.

    1. My father and mother both grew up in Chicago, she on the north side, he on the west. Cops were and are crooks, and LOVE harassing people who have done nothing illegal or even wrong! Since cops stop almost ZERO crimes, are often the criminals themselves, and stop very little crime from happening, perhaps it is time to ditch them. The city would almost certainly NOT be more dangerous, and the average person would not be the subject of these criminal police activities. Don’t hold your breath though, as police are essentially the politicians “storm troopers” and the pols LOVE having police who will keep their detractors “in line.”

      1. So increased police presence doesnt lower crime rates? Quite a few studies showed increased presence is what turned around crime rates in nyc under Giuliani.

        Many studies have shown that allowing low level crimes increases the potential of growing crime rates.

        1. Chicago isn’t New York or Texas. The problem in Chicago is that the police are widely (and possibly correctly) viewed as corrupt, so increased police presence will not have the same effect as it would in other cities.

          1. Perhaps, though let’s not pretend that anyone is being motivated to commit crimes purely out of spite for the police.

            1. No, but they will neither fear nor respect them, so there is not an indirect benefit of general policy presence.

              To quote DC Comics. The benefit is not the guy that gets punched. It’s the guy who says “I don’t want to get punched by Batman” and gets a job instead.

              1. New York PD was once (and possibly still are but less viewed that way) viewed as corrupt. But they did some cleaning up (possibly just window dressing) and started making their cops get out of their patrol vehicles and walk a beat at least part of the time. I think community policing can go a long way to creating a sense of trust. Chicago tends to not focus on community policing.

        2. What crimes though? Smoking weed of murder?

          1. Or
            Stupid fucking no edit Reason comments!

            1. The unedited version sounds much more awesome, though.

            2. But we have flags now!/sarc

  2. I can scarcely believe that poor people are more likely to resort to crime to stay alive. Surely there is some kind of mistake.

    1. The issue isn’t that search warrants were written for poor neighborhoods. The issue is how many of those warrants resulted in door-busting raids on wrong addresses, or on what turned out to be ridiculously outdated information.

      The War On Drugs (aka the Full Employment for Law Enforcement project) has lead us to this idiocy. Police have forgotten how to knock on a door with their knuckles; they have to do it with a battering ram.

      My own pet peeve is the routine whereby the police raid a wrong house, shoot a family pet, and handcuff a small child, and when public outrage is expressed some government stooge holds a press conference to say “all relevant procedures were followed”…without any apparent recognition that what that means is the both the idiot officers AND the moron who wrote the procedures need to be fired.

      1. The map shown isnt a map of incorrect addresses on warrants.

        1. Ding ding ding.

          I’m not going to defend Chicago PD, but not every datapoint of their activity is proof that they’re doing something bad.

          1. Chicago has a massive amount of violent crime. I’m not surprised they execute lost of search warrants.

    2. The problem is that the map itself is essentially unrelated to the complaint. Yes, police conduct more search warrants in poor, high crime areas. That’s to be expected. Police act where crime is.

      The problem is how they conduct those search warrants. Completely different problem.

      1. Nonsense, Libertarian style! If the cops make 1000 raids in the South Side they must also make 1000 raids in
        Forest Glen.

  3. Why can’t we just be honest here and admit that poor people tend to steal and black men in urban areas commit a majority of crimes in the surrounding area?

    With that being said, most of these “crimes” involve drugs and drug laws are unconstitutional as the US and state Constitution need provisions to ban products and services.

    Additionally, clearly police are not reserving “no-knock” warrants for trying to capture murders or the worst fugitives, so end these types of warrants. Require police to knock on the residence door, serve the warrant on the named person, have the warrant based upon probable cause as sworn to in an affidavit, and only for the items listed in the search warrant.

    1. And when an officer or officers racks up a certain number of Warrants that turn out to be based on bad information, give him a few months on parking enforcement to cool his jets.

      1. Lack of police accountability has always made me furious.

        When they are corrupt, innocent citizens tend to die and they just say…”whoops, qualified immunity”.

        1. This is it. Most Americans, even the law and order type, are completely set against the Buford T. Justices and Sheriff Buelton style of police officer (as hyperbolic examples). If we focused on them, and less on every cop bad narrative it would be easier to fix the problem. But we instead focus on Ferguson and such and try to implicate all police, only to find out the narrative was a complete fabrication. This harms any possibility of meaningful reform.

  4. Warrants are not served unless there is a court order. The title of the piece is totally misleading.

    1. Chicago Judges Police Executed More Than 11,000 Search Warrants in Mostly Poor Neighborhoods Over 5-Year Period???

      Yeah, that doesn’t seem quite right. Judges don’t kick doors.

    2. I also wonder given the nature of Chicago’s government how many warrants are a result of a suggestion by the local alderperson. I think it’s a safe bet that very few alderman in the poor minority districts are motivated by race. They are motivated by the fear of the criminals in their community.

  5. Chicago Police Executed More Than 11,000 Search Warrants in Mostly Poor Neighborhoods Over 5-Year Period

    And those people overwhelmingly voted for the politicians who created just this kind of police department.

  6. the difference in the sheer number of search warrants was clear when he mapped the data onto a block grid of Chicago

    One of the best mgmt/accountability tools enabled by computers has been the ability to map stuff geographically.

    1. No, it can lead to biased analysis. If we controlled by adjusting for crime statistics, then it would be meaningful.

      1. ‘crime statistics’ can also be geographically mapped. Of course once you do that then you realize this is two entirely separate sets of questions. A warrant is an action by the state against an individual – and often involves an implied (or overt) threat of violence. Crime is an action by one individual against another individual – and 85% of crime is property not violent and most property crime is also petty property crime.

        Everyone in a crime-ridden neighborhood knows they are in a crime-ridden neighborhood. They don’t need the cops to tell them that. Nor do they need to be told that it’s ok they incur all the risks of botched warrants (and far higher likelihood of warrants served with guns drawn and an assumption of hostility/fear) because there’s a lot of petty theft in their neighborhood.

        Every warrant served has an impact well beyond the object of the search when there’s tons of cop cars and ‘backup’ outside the apt. Every warrant for a property crime served in a neighborhood with a lot of violent crime (esp unsolved) raises questions to all the neighbors about the priorities of the police. Every botched raid will obliterate the cooperation of the entire neighborhood cuz who’s going to help enable more botched raids?

        So yeah – the two need to analyzed together. But not in the way you seem to want to do so – to excuse/ignore what’s happening because it confirms biases about people. But because the warrant is an action BY the state and it is up to the state (and those holding it accountable) to make sure that that action doesn’t cause more problems than it solves.

        1. Search warrants are used to gather evidence in criminal investigations, i.e. murder, theft etc. What do you think they’re used for?

        2. So basically, you cannot except that your pet hypothesis may be flawed? The data set is hardly conclusive, that doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes the authors attempt to use it as proof wrong. It requires further rigor, if you understood the basics of statistics you would understand why adjusting for co-variants is necessary in this data set. Instead your arguing, what I’m not certain.

        3. A search warrant is served for a totally different reason than an arrest warrant. The objective is to obtain information or evidence. If a perpetrator is present and probable cause already exists or is developed there may be an arrest…but that is not usually the primary purpose of a search warrant.

  7. The search warrant map is useless unless overlayed on a crime map. Is it really beyond the pale to think poorer people commit more crimes? Especially theft and robbery? It seems to correlate with prison statistics nicely.

    1. Apologies for the accidental flag. I’m still not fond of the new interface.

      With that said, it is not “beyond the pale” to think that poorer people might commit more crimes. There’s even some data to support that hypothesis. However, the correlation between crime rates and income are nowhere close to the disparity seen in the maps and data above.

      From Household Poverty and Nonfatal Violent Victimization, those in low income households are roughly twice as likely to commit crimes as those in high income households. That would still leave concentrations in the map but nowhere near as dense as they currently show. If they were executing search warrants in proportion to actual crimes (and you trust the statistics above), you would expect the map to be more pink with slightly darker pink concentrations, not mostly white with some reddish blobs.

      1. What kind of crimes? Violent or non violent.

        1. That doesn’t matter much–warrants are necessary to obtain evidence in either case.

      2. No, we would still have to adjust for what crimes warrant search warrants.

        1. Any crime that requires information or location and seizure of evidence can require a search warrant. Downloading cell phone information requires a warrant, whether police are investigating a murder or a larceny.

    2. Or perhaps more to the point, poor people are more likely to be the victims of crimes

  8. Fuck, am I reading some local MSM rag?
    While due to the late, great Radley Balko’s work we know how overmilitarized police forces love to play dress up and frighten/abuse the citizenry. We know about the gratuitous “Shoot the Dog” policies. We know about the perverse incentives of asset forfeiture.

    You, CJ Ciaramella, are no Radley Balko. This sounds like a joke version of “People will die!”.

    What the fuck is this “Police with burst into a family home where was occurring” formula?

    “300 guns were drawn at an address where a little 2-year-old was taking his first unassissted poo-poo”? I mean “Bazookas were trained on a teenage girl and her mother as she inserted her first tampon.” tells us exactly 0 more than “a warrant was served at a wrong address” or, as is more often the case “a warrant was served where a potentially dangerous criminal had previously lived”. The purpose of actual journalism is not much served by “degree of poignancy” factors, is it?

    Also, after spending so much time implying-not-stating that race/economic class were the determinant factors in the number of bad search warrants, a few minutes showing whether or not there was any geographical overlap between those numbers and the locations where crimes are actually reported/committed might have been informative. Or does that veer too close to objectivity for Reason staff nowadays?

    I can’t be an apologist for the fact that urban police departments are becoming more militarized and corrupt over time, but this appeal to sentiment and the poorly-concealed postulate that warrants should be spread evenly over a metropolitan area does no one any good. Maybe we should stop warrants altogether so we can get to the business of complaining about the increase in crime.

    1. Police with (insert scary weapon) burst into a home where (Hallmark moment) was occurring.

    2. Objectivity in reporting or opinion writing is a fantasy. Any writer must necessarily have a point of view. The idea that ‘objective reporting’ was even POSSIBLE was one of the most effective lies the Progressive Left ever sold.

      That said, I agree that the above piece is more sloppy sentiment than reasoned argument.

      Police serve too many warrants in a style reminiscent of the old UNTOUCHABLES television series. There are undoubtedly cases where this is justified, but where is is not, or where sloppy work results in the dynamism being misapplied, the cops and the judges seldom face any real consequences.

      But the article is not making that argument.

    3. we should stop warrants altogether so we can get to the business of complaining about the increase in crime

      Crime is at near all-time lows. Across virtually every category of crime with the exception of murder/rape (roughly 10% of all violent crime and most of that is rape) which have risen a bit from their lows a few years ago. So ‘complaining about crime’ – and using that bogus complaint to be ok with bad policing – is just something that allows folks in suburbs to excuse bad police mgmt and their own racism at blaming someone else for what isn’t even occurring much anymore.

      The fact that warrants aren’t spread over a geographic area is not as relevant as the FACT that urban police depts are still fucking atrociously managed and have a lot of embedded racism in everything they do. And much of that is because they are run by people who no longer even live in the city and so can persist in their mythologies that it is a jungle out there.

      1. Even in Chicago – which is a bit of a crime aberration esp re murder – the biggest problem that even the cops admit to is a ‘lack of cooperation’. Which is why their clearance rates for murder have dropped from 70% in the 1990’s to less than 25% now.

        Any guess as to why there is a lack of cooperation when it is now very obvious that the cops are still prioritizing the things that no longer matter against precisely those neighborhoods where they want cooperation for the things that really do matter.

        1. I wonder why the residents of Chicago do not trust the police.

          1. Me, I wonder why the residents of everywhere that’s not Chicago do trust the police.

    4. tells us exactly 0 more than “a warrant was served at a wrong address” or, as is more often the case “a warrant was served where a potentially dangerous criminal had previously lived”

      Or even, “dangerous criminals also have children and parties and tampons, and that’s no reason to not execute warrants on them.”

      1. “and that’s no reason to not execute warrants on them.”

        It is a valid reason to question police preferences for serving all warrants with violent dynamic entry tactics.

        1. That’s true. But that’s not what the data is telling us about. It’s just telling us about the warrants.

          If they’d provided some breakdown of how often these warrants led to violent entry, or how many no-knock warrants were served, things of that nature, this article would have stood on solid ground in its critique of police. Simply pointing out a distribution of served warrants is leaving out information.

          1. FFS. You gotta be playing dumb to think that the % of warrants served violently is higher in low crime areas than in high crime areas. So its a dead bang certainty that a map of botched raids or violent raids or somesuch is going to be even more highly skewed.

            1. Where do you get that the warrants were served violently? That wasn’t specified. The author offered a few anecdotes but there was no actual data on if the warrants were served violently or not. A lot of times a warrant is served by a beat officer knocking on the persons door, showing them the warrant and conducting a search. You inferred that it was being done violently.

              1. The only violent warrants occur in neighborhoods where there ARE warrants. idathunk even you would realize that that is obvious.

                75% of the TOTAL warrants are served in 13 of the 77 ‘neighborhoods’ of Chicago. Most are rapidly declining population – poor, no local job base, very high adult female/male ratios (iow – babymommas and their kids w/ the man in prison), virtually all absentee landownership w the ‘slumlord’ economic model (where eminent domain and fire are the profitable exit strategy with low proptaxes and high rents in the interim – because the ‘property’ is actually negative value). Very few cops/firefighters FROM those neighborhoods so very few who give a shit about the neighborhood or have any knowledge of it – which creates a vacuum that gets filled on the street by gangs. That also means the served warrants are going to be much more violent – and much more likely to be botched cuz of bad intel.

                Yeah they are obviously ‘high crime’ – esp high violent crime cuz there is very little ‘property’ there. That doesn’t mean the cops give a damn about solving those crimes there. Because more importantly they have all the characteristics of war zones. Where the cops view the entire neighborhood as the enemy and it doesn’t take long then for the neighborhood to view cops the same.

                This is all so stereotypical – as is the response by Chicago cops and you. Lock em all up and throw away the key. It’s why the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It doesn’t matter that that’s not ‘working’. And it confirms what Jane Jacobs wrote 50 years ago

                It may be that we have become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things do work, but only what kind of quick, easy outer impression they give. If so, there is little hope for our cities or probably for much else in our society.

  9. Cops are executing warrants in those areas because that’s where the crime is.

    Maybe if the saintly residents of Chicago could stop robbing, beating and killing each other, there wouldn’t be so many search warrants executed.

    1. Of course, since less than half of the raids back by those warrants resulted in an arrest, it means that the people who aren’t robbing. beating and killing each other in Chicago need to up their game and start doing it so the police won’t look like incompetent boobs.

      1. Less than half resulting in an arrest simply means that the lives of criminals are chaotic enough that it’s hard to pin down exactly where they’d be stashing evidence of their crimes, and that they are familiar enough with their chosen occupations to be aware that stashing it at home is a bad idea.

        It would be nice to always be 100% certain you are going to find what you’re looking for in an area as crime ridden as Chicago’s Black neighborhoods, but that’s not realistic.

        1. Don’t cops need evidence to get a search warrant?

          1. They need probable cause and swear to those facts in an affidavit before a warrant can be issued, if you follow the Constitution.

  10. I am a former police lieutenant. I do not believe that all cops are jack-booted Nazis, nor do I believe that bad, corrupt police do not exist.

    I worked that job because I believed in the constitution and local law enforcement. I truly wanted to serve my community and I’m proud of my service, but I also saw many tactics and procedures that violated constitutional rights, eventually leading to my departure.

    I can say the following based on a cursory analysis of the facts at hand:

    It is objectively obvious why more search warrants are executed in high-crime areas than low-crime areas. That said, the arrest vs executed warrant ratio is a red flag when comparing the instances of “wrong house” warrants. This is an indication that proper surveillance and confirmation techniques in the hours imminent to search warrant execution are not being properly conducted.

    The search of a home requires a very high degree of certainty that a crime is being committed and/or the person committing said crime is present. The number of non-arrest searches tells me the decision to arrest was made after the case was reviewed and a superior uncovered fatal flaws that would not survive a motion to suppress evidence, so they chose not file charges. If this is the case, it is an indication that search warrants are being used as fishing expeditions, which is not their intent.

    For example, I knew of a detective who suspected that an individual was trafficking a large amount of drugs out of an apartment, but did not have probable cause for a search. Some time later, he received a shoplifting complaint with surveillance video of an individual wearing unique clothing. He was able to positively identify the individual from the surveillance, but since it was the same apartment he suspected of drug trafficking, he obtained an (unnecessary) search warrant to search for said “unique clothing” to “prove his shoplifting case.” He subsequently uncovered a large amount of heroin, made that arrest and never even filed charges on the shoplifting.

    These tactics will often be overturned by higher courts, which is why they are more prevalent when dealing with subjects with little to no resources to effectively fight the charges. Subjects with little resources for adequate defense are far more likely to make a plea deal even on a case with fatal flaws.

    Some of the decisions to use these tactics come from the prosecutor’s office and not necessarily the police department. Prosecutors must show statistics of successful prosecutions because they must run for re-election. For this reason, they tend to go after “low hanging fruit” rather than individuals who are a true danger to the community.

    For example, I saw a case where a narcotics detective was aware a local resident was a prostitute and a drug user. He observed her driving with an adulterated license plate, stopped her and charged her. He made an arrangement with her that if she participated in a controlled drug buy, he would ask the prosecutor to drop the license plate charges.

    She did not follow through in time, but because she had such an arrangement, she did not obtain an attorney. When one of the junior prosecutors saw that she did not have an attorney, he offered a plea deal of 2 years in prison. 2 years for an adulterated license plate. Child molesters with high-priced attorneys get off with less.

    The Prosecutor’s Office also has a hand in civil asset forfeiture, often receiving 50-100% of the value forfeited. I my experience, it is often the prosecutor’s office driving the train on asset forfeiture, as they have enhanced immunity over police departments. I personally witnessed a prosecutor successfully seize over $100k from a man who was never charged with a crime because the crime lab found “a much larger amount of cocaine on the cash than usual.”

    These techniques, if you can call them that, would never be used against a subject with vast resources to defend themselves.

    For example, I knew several individuals on a county gambling task force. The prosecutor seemed to only approve operations against illegal slot machines in dive bars, so the chief detective became annoyed with the selective enforcement and hit a gambling night at a high end cigar lounge of which an area judge was a member. The task force was immediately disbanded.

    The major underlying problem is politics in the justice system. Prosecutors and district judges need to be re-elected, police chiefs work for people who need to be re-elected. The vulnerable among us fall victim to the political machine to fund and re-elect criminal justice politicians.

    1. These things you mention having seen. Did you speak out against them while you were still in uniform? If not, you were one of the bad/corrupt police officers. If you don’t oppose the rot, you are part of it.

      1. They’re all perfectly legal under the current system, but thank you for the kind words.

        1. Police killing unarmed people can be perfectly legal with qualified immunity but that does not make it constitutional, legal, or moral.

          ObamaCare is “constitutional” but it clearly is not as there is nowhere in the US Constitution that gives the government power to force people to buy a product or service.

          1. Killing an unarmed person can be both Constitutional and moral. Unarmed doesn’t mean not dangerous. It is situational. I find some guy attempting to rape my wife or kids, he’s a dead man.

        2. So you live by what’s legal not what’s moral. I guess you have no problem with slave catchers and concentration camp guards.

          1. Straw man much?

            1. Argumentum ad absurdum.

    2. Enforcing drug prohibition absolutely makes cops jack booted Nazis.

      1. That’s the type of pragmatic inclusiveness that has really allowed the message of liberty to flourish.

        1. Liberty does not include immorality.

        2. Liberty is not supposed to exist in the real world. Only in people’s heads – or maybe Somalia. Get with the program.

          At any rate, I aprreciate those observations about the real world

    3. Boy…you are going to get an ear full here.

      I respect your bravery in letting us know that you are a former law enforcement officer.

      With that being said, all drug bans are unconstitutional. There is simply no authority in the US or state Constitutions to ban products and services. Even the Prohibitionists knew this which is why they had to pass the 18th Amendment to ban alcohol.

      So, while you think that you were believing in the Constitution, it’s not going to fly among Libertarians here and the Anarchists here hate cops.

      I would also add that prostitution bans are also unconstitutional as there is no authority to ban services.

      Asset forfeiture as used is unconstitutional. Under the 5th Amendment, all private property taken for public use requires just compensation to the owner. If police take $1000 from a person, the government owes that person at least $1000 as just compensation. This would make asset forfeiture worthless which is why this part of the 5th Amendment is ignored.

      1. I would argue that driving out cops who are good because there exists bad laws just leaves us with more cops willing to abuse their power.

        1. Many of the same individuals doing so would gleefully vote for Ron Paul, who, at the end of the day, is another government official trying to do the right thing in a system of bad laws. Should Ron Paul have resigned when the US went to war with Iraq?

          He didn’t agree with it, but he was a member of a body of government that authorized it. Aren’t we better with Ron Paul in an imperfect system than having an imperfect system with no Ron Paul?

      2. You’re engaging in a philosophical discussion, which is fine, but the reality is that SCOTUS has declared all of said laws to be constitutional.

        I am not saying I agree with those decisions, I am saying it is reality.

        I am not concerned in what anarchists and uncompromising, large-L Libertarians believe. They all continue to do things against their philosophical beliefs, such as obey tax laws, in order to keep their lives moving forward. They’re intellectually dishonest.

        To criticize police officers trying to do the right thing in spite of philosophical differences is small minded. Someone still needs to keep the peace. Robert Nozick even recognized that.

        Likewise, much of what guided me towards a “libertarian” mindset occurred as a result of my work in law enforcement. Unlike everyone on a message board pretending as if their personal ideologies have never changed, mine have. I draw from my experiences and I am not ashamed of them.

        These attacks are why good police still stay behind a wall of silence. A large majority of the crowd you speak of doesn’t want good police, they want no police. That is a viewpoint I can’t entertain.

        I believe limited local police power is an extraordinarily valuable concept. A peace keeping force made up of local citizens enforcing the laws of their local communities is the framework of limited government and should be embraced by realistic proponents of such a concept.

        I worked for a department that engaged in asset forfeiture. I also served on child predator task forces and literally rescued children from being systematically raped. Would it have been better if I quit the minute I found out about asset forfeiture and never rescued the children? Would it be more commendable to resign out of uncompromising principles and let the innocent continue to suffer?

        I once served an arrest warrant on a man and found him dying of a drug overdose. Had I not arrived when he did, he would have died. Does the fact that I worked with another officer who conducted prostitution stings, despite my personal view of prostitution laws negate the life saved?

        It doesn’t make me brave to admit I was a police officer and I learned a great deal, both positive and negative, from my experience. It makes someone attacking me for doing so a coward.

  11. “Chicago Police Executed More Than 11,000 Search Warrants in Mostly Poor Neighborhoods Over 5-Year Period.

    Well of course the Chicago police are going to serve 11,000 search warrants in poor neighborhoods, Mr. Ciaramella.
    That’s where the majority of crime is.
    Get a clue.

    1. Yes, that’s were the majority of crime is. However, the argument that poor neighborhoods are where the crime is fails to justify 11,0000 warrants when you pay attention to the first paragraph of the article and realize that nearly half of those warrants did not result in an arrest.

      1. Search warrants don’t have to result in an arrest.
        That’s not the reason they’re issued.
        They’re issued to determine if the state has reasonable cause to determine if there are illegal substances, so named in the warrant, is on the premises mentioned.
        Perhaps if Mr. Ciaramella would recognize this fact, his article would have more merit.

        1. Except the probable cause that is supposed to be required to get a warrant, ought to be significantly better than a 50/50 proposition.

          1. The ratio of arrests to warrants is a stronger data point than just gross numbers. And 11,000 seems like a large number but is it really, in a city of about 2.2 million. That is about 0.5 % of the population.

            1. Over a five year period. So 2200 a year, or 1 for every 22,000 citizens.

              1. Well if you look at that data map:

                1323 of the warrants were served in North Lawndale – population of 35,000 (though that also includes the Homan Square evidence storage place)
                1006 were served in Austin – population 98,000
                844 in West Englewood – population 32,000
                668 in Englewood – population 26,000

                at the other extreme:
                1 served in Mount Greenwood (happens to be where many cops live – pure coincidence I’m sure) – population 26,000
                2 in Beverly – population 22,000
                3 in O’Hare – pop 13,000 but also includes the airport.
                5 in Hyde Park – population 27,000
                9 in the Loop – pop only 30,000 but that also includes the entire downtown and most govt buildings so a daytime population of probably 500,000.

                1. Maybe the cops live in Mount Greenwood because of low crime and the crime is even lower because there are a lot of cops living there. Breaking it down purely by population does not demonstrate anything conclusively. First, a lot of warrants are not no knock raids, and are not served for violent crimes. They could be as simple as a detective or beat cop knocking on the door, presenting the warrant to look for stolen goods, say, and searching the suspects room. Based upon this data set we don’t know how many warrants are of this type. Warrants are issued as part of a police investigation, and in an area with higher crime rates, thus more criminals living in it, more search warrants and arrest warrants will be issued. Most arrest warrants may also be the cops showing up with the warrant, presenting it and cuffing the suspect, with little to no conflict. If you have proof that they are using excessive force, 2 or 3 anecdote is not proof, then present it. But stating look at the population is not an informed analysis, because there are so many other co-variants that you have to take into account. East St Louis has a population of around 27,000, Bozeman, MT has a population of 46,000. Comparing warrant data of the two is meaningless without controlling for independent factors and co-variants.

                  1. Breaking it down purely by population does not demonstrate anything conclusively.

                    Yet that’s exactly what you tried to do city-wide to show how insignificant the problem is.

                    My comment merely brings up the FACT that it is a huge deal in some neighborhoods and completely irrelevant in most others. In those others, they most likely get all their ‘knowledge’ from watching cop shows on TV and have no personal/neighborhood actual experience beyond that. Yet – guess where those who are cops or who hold them accountable live and work? When overwatch is done by the stupid/ignorant – there is no overwatch.

    2. Yeah but the major crimes occur in boardrooms.

      1. White collar crime is area where the law enforcement agencies need to pay more attention if that is what you consider “major crime.”
        The more violent crimes usually happen in the poorer areas of a community.

        1. Aren’t the majority of white collar crimes investigated by the federal government? I honestly don’t know but from the nature of most white collar crimes it would seem reasonable. Did the author include federal warrants?

  12. Chicago Police Executed More Than 11,000 Search Warrants in Mostly Poor High Crime Neighborhoods Over 5-Year Period.

    Fixed it for you.

  13. These areas are so cop hostile that policing has been reduced to armed invasions of enemy territories.
    Seems hard to believe the areas where all the gang violence happens has too much police, seems more likely that they are missing most the time.
    In what universe are there high crime areas that are not poor?
    If there was a cop on every corner instead of a banger I think it would make a positive difference, what they are doing now certainly is not working!

  14. So the majority of crimes happen in the south side of Chicago, a known gang and drug distribution center (I know, the war on drugs is stupid, I’ll agree) and we’re surprised that they have more search warrants then the far more affluent north side? Now, the use of SWAT teams is out of control, and the Chicago police do have serious problems (probably at least partially because of racism and even more so because of corruption and low accountability) but I think comparing stats between an affluent neighborhood and a crime ridden neighborhood is bad methodology.

    1. It’s akin to during prohibition pointing out that more bootlegging arrests were made in states with international borders and or coastal areas than in landlocked Kansas and Colorado.

  15. […] The Chicago police department carried out more than 11,000 search warrants over five years. The police frequently went to the wrong home, and raids ended up with guns pointed in the faces of innocent children. [Link] […]

  16. There is a great opportunity here for creating unintended consequences by forcing governments to pay attention to meaningless metrics.

    So the complaint seems to be that in half of the cases where a search warrant is executed, nobody is arrested. Well, the obvious solution to that is tell the policeman that they must arrest somebody every time they execute a search warrant in a minority neighborhood.

    Problem solved!

  17. The Chicago PD is and always has been one of the most corrupt in the US, but this article is hogwash. Of course most of the warrants were in low income neighborhoods because that is where most of the crime occurs. All of the shootings every weekend are not along the lakeshore or in the wealthy suburbs, but where the map has most data points. Reason has become obsessed with trashing police and trying to paint it a “Libertarianism” instead of what it actually is, leftism

  18. The assertion that wrong door warrants are a “consequence of the militarization of police” is nonsense. Police organizations have always been, and will continue to be, para military organizations. Police work is not done in an office cubicle or a factory, but instead in a dangerous environment where accurate information flow and orderly supervision is key to everyone’s survival.
    Wrong door warrants are a result of bad information, and often incomplete and or sloppy police work–or a result of evidence or suspects being moved prior to execution of the warrant. What the officers wear when they execute said warrants has nothing to do with it.
    I’m sorry if it upsets some people that police officers find it necessary to carry weapons and wear protective clothing, but they have something in common with the military: people try to kill them. In fact, over 150 officers lose their lives each year in the line of duty, about half of the time as a result of being personally attacked–usually, the attack is a shooting.
    IF the writers of this article had taken the time to do additional research, I am sure that they would have found that the search warrants are most numerous in the same areas where crime is highest. They would have also learned that in a major crime or investigation, there are usually multiple search warrants served, often after an arrest is made. A search warrant is normally served in a search for evidence or information–which may very well be in the custody of an armed and dangerous person who does not want to provide the evidence or information to the police.
    The only thing that this article clearly demonstrates is that the author needs to learn more about law enforcement and police organizations, and do more thorough research before publishing an article. No other reasonable conclusions can be made upon reading it.

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