An Independent Monitoring Team (IMT) ordered by the state of Illinois in a consent decree submitted their Community Survey Report Wednesday, following responses from more than 1,000 Chicagoans. The group says the responses were randomly selected across races, plus took into consideration the responses of nearly 350 young Black men between the ages of 18-25, who are considered to have the most frequent interactions with CPD.
The survey, which was conducted between November 2019 and February 2020 by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago, is said to reveal observations that “demand attention by the city, CPD and other stakeholders in policing.”
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The main topics touched on discrimination practices, as well as community trust and accountability within the police force.
On average, Chicagoans rated the CPD more positively than negatively, according to the report, but also pointed out that the perceptions varied dramatically by racial groups. Only one-third of the questions had a majority positive rating, showing that Chicagoans’ perception of and experiences with police are strongly associated with their race and ethnicity.
In general, the finding showed white residents responded most positively, followed by Latino residents, Black residents, and then young Black men between the ages of 18-25.
It found that 77% of white residents and 67% of Latino residents indicated that they think CPD makes their neighborhoods “more safe” or “a lot more safe,” although less than half of Black Chicagoans (47%) and one-third of young Black men (34%) felt the same, according to the report.
The survey also emphasized a perceived lack of fairness in how police treat specific populations, with fewer than half of those surveyed rating CPD as doing a “good” or “very good” job.
Those populations include:
Religious minorities: 38%
People with disabilities: 48%
LBGTQI community: 39%
Native American Chicagoans: 33%
People with mental health conditions: 29%
These discrepancies also lead to a large deficit in the community’s trust in Chicago police in general, citing low ratings in terms of trustworthiness and procedural justice. Only half say they felt CPD officers are trustworthy, with even fewer saying they felt CPD uses the appropriate amount of force during interactions with Chicagoans.
The lowest rating recorded in the survey reflected the community’s concern about holding officers accountable. Many reported fear of being harassed by police in response to filing a complaint, despite most saying they would still file one if they had a reason to do so. However, only a quarter of those had confidence the CPD would investigate the complaint thoroughly.
The team pointed out that the response of the community is significant because the survey was conducted before the spread of COVID-19, before the ensuing economic crisis, and before the nationwide protest and unrest that have followed the death of George Floyd.
As a result, they say the findings provide a baseline from which city officials can examine the state of police-community relations in Chicago since the recent events. IMT says they will use the findings of the survey results to encourage the city and CPD to implement necessary reforms.
“At this moment in history, when communities across the nation are demanding changes to policing, the findings of this survey give us additional insight into police-community relations in Chicago. The overarching implication of these survey results is that the CPD has serious work ahead to gain the trust and confidence of Chicagoans,” the report read.
The Independent Monitoring Team says they will continue to conduct the survey every other year for the duration of the consent decree.
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