The Case for Abolishing the UChicago Crime Lab

This was a resourceful essay with paragraphs of critiques about the Crime Lab. These are my notes of the concluding paragraphs.

“Crime Lab is not responsive to these critiques and reacts defensively when confronted.... Crime Lab’s political and monetary support depends on their ability to masquerade as an objective research institution, even as they reject any evidence that contradicts their assumptions, and continue to support police violence against Black, brown, and Indigenous communities. That the research institution in question is so dogmatically committed to upholding the legitimacy of policing ... is unacceptable.”

Conclusion: Abolish Crime Lab

“a recent city budget survey whose more than thirty-eight thousand respondents consider CPD the least important social service by far.

“The most recent uprisings against police brutality began in May, eliciting no response from the Crime Lab, despite the protests’ clear implications for the lab’s work and very existence. Among waves of public statements from public, private, and nonprofit institutions across the country pledging support (however performative) for the Black Lives Matter movement, promising critical self-analyses and antiracism work, the Crime Lab did not flinch. They released no external comment and marched forward in lockstep, unfazed by world-changing events. Their obstinate refusal to engage with the movement and the research supporting its demands is indicative of deep-seated political ideology and alliances](, rather than the academic neutrality they purport.

“If we are to end the violence that CPD carries out with impunity in Chicago’s Black and brown communities, the Crime Lab has to go, too. In its place, we demand research and funding that respects the radical imagination of Chicago communities and activists by studying and advancing the development of alternatives to policing.”