Multiple wounded in shooting in Chicago's Washington Park area, police say

() — The FBI’s new annual crime report released Wednesday found a 4.3% increase in the total number of murders in 2021, but experts warn the estimate draws on fewer data points than previous years.

Major gaps in data show there is a problem with how crime data is collected and recorded. Only 63% of law enforcement agencies have submitted crime stats to the FBI at all, and only 52% submitted a full year’s worth of their data.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense, discussed what she believes needs to be done to address crime and how it is reported.

“It has to be a concerted effort. It has to be at the local, state and federal level. There have to be resources,”
Bustos said.

Bustos used the city of Rockford as her example, claiming that the city’s mayor, Tom McNamara, and his council have made a decision to approach crime at the base level. This approach focuses on why kids are getting in trouble and committing crimes.

“So what they’ve done is they’ve created something called the Family Peace Center that addresses crime at the youngest level possible. So what they’ve discovered through the research is that a lot of kids are committing crimes — kids who come from homes involving domestic violence,” Bustos explained.

From this research, they brought together law enforcement, mental health providers, social workers and after-school programs so they could provide resources to kids and help them at the youngest level.

“I think having a national reporting database is important,” Bustos said. “We’ve got to keep track of crime data in a concerted effort and make sure that we can do something about it.”

“Defund the police was a very unfortunate three-word phrase that I wish had never come out,” Bustos continued. “And certainly it’s not, as the wife of the sheriff of Rockland County, Illinois, (something I believe in). And the vast majority of Democrats did not believe that either.”

She explained that just last week, they voted on four different bills that take a look at things like making sure police officers can be trained properly and to the best they can be, so they are great police officers. Also, legislation to make sure that mental health is a component of how police officers respond to calls, and make sure that smaller police departments have ways they can grow their ranks. Bustos said that departments are having a very hard time recruiting officers. The bills that they just voted for actually involve funding the police, she said.

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