Investigating crime can start from two places: police officers or from a victim of a crime. After an arrest, police officers and detectives have an important discretion; they can choose whether to file a misdemeanor or felony case with the Cook County Court.

An incident report is any contact that a police officer has with a resident. Not every incident turns into an arrest.

The data inventory is a list of the information that's collected by the Chicago Police Department for anyone who's arrested. The inventory is divided into three categories; data that's available through the Freedom of Information request, data readily available and data that is collected but not available.

Data Inventory

This is a list of the information that's collected by the Chicago Police Department for anyone who's arrested. The inventory is divided into three categories:

  1. Data readily available,
  2. Data available through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, and
  3. Data that is collected but not available.

Open Data

  • Report Number (called RD #)
  • Date of incident
  • Address of incident (hundred block)
  • Illinois Uniform Crime Report Code
  • Primary Type
  • Description of Event
  • Location Description
  • If an arrest was made
  • Whether or not the incident was domestic
  • Beat of occurrence
  • District of occurrence
  • Ward of occurrence
  • Community area of occurrence
  • FBI Code
  • X coordinates of location of incident
  • Y coordinates of location of incident
  • Year
  • Latitude of location of incident
  • Longitude of location of incident
  • Location (combination of latitude and longitude)

FOIA Accessible Data

  • Exact Home address of complainant
  • Race of complainant
  • Age of complainant
  • Gender of complainant (observed)
  • Whether complainant was intoxicated
  • Relationship between complainant & offender
  • Weapon presence / type of weapon
  • Complainant Injury
  • Whether injured
  • Injury Type
  • Injury Description
  • Number of Complainants involved in incident
  • Number of Offenders involved in incident
  • Whether a witness was present
  • Gender of responding officer(s)
  • Age of responding officer(s)
  • Race of responding officer(s)
  • Assignment of responding officer(s)
  • Gender of detective(s) assigned
  • Age of detective(s) assigned
  • Race of detective(s) assigned
  • Assignment of detective(s) assigned
  • Any additional crime types of lesser seriousness
  • Description of such additional crime types

Unavailable Data

  • Name of complainant
  • Name of responding officer(s)
  • Badge number of responding officer(s)
  • Name of detective(s) assigned
  • Badge of detective(s) assigned
  • Relationship between the offender & the victim

How to Access Crime Incident Data in Chicago

Some but not all Crime Incident data is available through the City of Chicago Data Portal.

To access greater or more specific data from the Chicago Police Department, you need to file a request for data under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You will need to send an email including: (1) your name and contact information, along with (2) a description of the records you are requesting. Please try to be reasonably specific for the data you are looking for so that they can more easily process your request.

National Models for Releasing Justice Data

City of Chicago (Illinois)

The City of Chicago's data portal provides excellent access to crime incident data that is either usable online or can be downloaded for later use. While the portal leads other cities in usability the Chicago Police Department only makes available crime incident data.

Other Models

This project is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative's Civic Works Project, a program funded by the Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to spur support civic innovation in Chicago.

Our partners for this project are Chicago Justice Project, a nonprofit research organization, and FreeGeek Chicago's Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew (SC3). You can find the code backing this website on Github. We used the Chicago Tribune's Tarbell content management system to build our site. Content and code is under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence.