Review of the Chicago Police Department’s “Gang Database”

The Public Safety Section of the City of Chicago’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has concluded a review of the Chicago Police Department’s gang-related data, commonly referred to by the public as the “gang database.” OIG’s review found that while the Chicago Police Department (CPD or the “Department”) deploys a host of strategies, tactics, and technology in relation to gangs, it does not have a unified, stand-alone “gang database” as publicly perceived. Instead, the Department collects and stores information on individual and geographic gang involvement through a multitude of internal databases, forms, visualization tools, and repositories. CPD also receives gang-related data generated by external agencies. Therefore, any effort to address public concern over the purpose and practices associated with the Department’s collection and use of gang information must begin with an accurate understanding of the various components and current technological limitations.    

OIG’s review found that: 1) CPD lacks sufficient controls for generating, maintaining, and sharing gang-related data; 2) CPD’s gang information practices lack procedural fairness protections; 3) CPD’s gang designations raise significant data quality concerns; and 4) CPD’s practices and lack of transparency regarding its gang designations strain police-community relations.

OIG offers 30 recommendations on the utility, collection, maintenance, sharing, impacts, and data quality of CPD’s gang designations.

In response, CPD agreed with OIG’s findings and largely concurred with many of OIG’s recommendations and partially concurred or disagreed with others.

Find a Spanish translation of the report’s Executive Summary here.