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November 2010 Archives

Author doubts Capone was behind Valentine's Day Massacre

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Jonathan Eig, author of "Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster" has two surprising conclusions for people enamored of the Capone legend.

First, he doesn't think Capone ordered the Prohibition-era Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven men were gunned down.

Second, he questions Robert DeNiro's portrayal in the 1987 movie "The Untouchables," in which Capone uses a baseball bat to fatally bludgeon an underling.

Lots of ideas are circulating about how to cut the cost of Cook County government, and among them is this one: getting out of the business of providing services to unincorporated areas.

What catches the eye of the cost-cutters is a potential savings of $54.7 million a year.

But don't start writing all those savings into Cook County budget calculations just yet. It won't be all that easy to achieve.

For the 22nd straight month, the Chicago Police Department announced Sunday, crime in the city has dropped.

This is good.

Police Supt. Jody Weis tells us this is because of the "excellent police work of the men and women of our police force."

This is bad.

If there is one thing any veteran police reporter can tell you, it's that smart top cops go easy on grabbing the credit for drops in crime for the most obvious of reasons -- that don't want to have to accept the blame when crime rates go back up.

And crime rates, sooner or later, always go back up. Short-range gains matter less than long-range trends.

Good police work can be a significant factor in keeping crime under control and even bringing down the rate, but so much more goes into those numbers -- the economy, the weather, the price of pot or heroin, changes in the population and much more.

Two important observations tend to get overlooked:

Chicago is a pretty safe town to live in, except in its poorest neighborhoods. So tourists can relax, even as a city that cares about all its residents -- especially its children -- works to reduce crime rates in every corner of town.

And, observation No. 2: Per capita crime rates in Chicago, especially for murder, may be declining somewhat, but they still outpace other big cities, most notably New York and Los Angeles.

So nobody's got a thing to brag about.

Still, good news.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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