Crime Reporting
A Review of Detective Division Reporting Practices: A Report of the Chicago
Police Department's Crime  Classification Audit. 1987  (With Andrew C. Gordon

This document presents detailed comments regarding the recently-released report of
the Chicago Police Department (CPD), Detective Division Reporting Practices. The CPD
report describes an internal audit of selected crime recording practices which was
conducted by the department. The audit comes as a response to criticism of those
practices by others. It is because the audit was conducted in a rigorous and empirical
fashion following an explicit research design, and because the Department presented its
findings “warts and all,” that we are able to be so specific in our criticisms here. This
report touches upon a number of specific items. First it reviews the purpose of the audit-
what problems were addressed, and what the audit was to accomplish. Then it examines
the procedures employed in conducting the audit and the strategic decisions they
reflected. It explores in some detail the follow-up interviews which were conducted with
complainants in selected cases, for those lie at the heart of the audit. Then we consider
the process by which unfounding decisions were “supported” or “not supported” by the
auditors, and the analyses of that support which are presented in the audit report. A
major section then reviews the lessons of the recent past, examining unfounding rates in
Chicago since 1981. This section estimates the impact of unfounding upon
verifiedincident totals for the city. It also examines the implications of changing patterns
of unfounding evident in quarterly CPD reports to the FBI.