According to a newly published report from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Department of Political Science, the most corrupt big city in the US is the Chicago metropolitan area.
The findings are based on the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal data on corruption arrests from 1976 through 2017. The report reveals that the Northern District of Illinois, which includes the Chicago metropolitan area, saw 1,731 convictions for public corruption in the last four decades. As a whole, the State of Illinois recorded 2,102 convictions for public corruption in the same timespan.
Along with Chicago, California (Los Angeles) topped the list with 1,534 convictions, New York (Manhattan) with 1,327 convictions, Florida (Miami) with 1,165 convictions, and the District of Columbia with 1,159 convictions.
Dick Simpson, head of UIC’s political science department, authored the report. “For a long time — going back at least to the Al Capone era — Chicago and Illinois have been known for high levels of public corruption,” Simpson said. “But now we have statistics that confirm their dishonorable and notorious reputations.… The two worst crime zones in Illinois are the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield and the City Council Chambers in Chicago.”
Thirty Chicago City Council members have been charged in corruption cases since the 1970s, with Edward M. Burke, the mayor of the 14th Ward of the City of Chicago, becoming the latest politician to be charged with one count of attempted extortion in early January for allegedly trying to use his political power to solicit business for his private law firm, CBS Chicago reported.
Although Chicago accounts for 82% of the state’s corruption convictions, according to the report, federal corruption is also rampant statewide.
On a per capita basis, Illinois ranked third for the most corrupt state in the US. In 2017, the state had 34 convictions for public corruption.
California, Florida, New York and Texas all had more public corruption convictions than Illinois, but those states have larger populations, as per the report, ranked lower on a per capita basis.