This is the second in a series of articles regarding a policy of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, to make publicly available (online for 30 days) mug shots of all individuals who have been arrested (not convicted) for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution. Part One: The Public Shaming of “Johns”
When we first began examining Chicago “mug shot” data, something caught our attention: a disproportionate number of transgender individuals are apparently being arrested for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution. These individuals are designated as male (actually, only men are on the website) but appear fairly definitively dressed as women in their mug shots.
This sparked our interest and provoked some questions. What proportion of those arrested are transgender and why do so many transgender individuals appear on the website?
To answer these questions (and many others), we began a systematic categorization of the mug shot subjects by race and gender. A team of trained graduate students coded the data. To infer race, they examined surnames and mug shot photos. To infer transgender status, they used visual cues based on the mug shots, such as hairstyles, make-up, and clothes. All three team members had to agree before a final code was assigned. When they disagreed, the subject’s gender was coded “unknown.” We were conservative in categorizing variables.
The results of our analysis follows, starting with where in Chicago transgender arrests are occurring. (Note: For the maps, the arrests cover the period 3/8/2010 to 3/9/2012. For the table, the arrest dates are from 3/8/2010 to 3/30/2012.)
Transgender arrests were clustered in three neighborhoods: 1) Englewood (around 75th Street), 2) Austin/West Garfield Park (around Cicero), and 3) Lakeview (Boystown) (around Clark and Belmont).
A comparison of the location of transgender arrests to non-transgender arrests revealed clusters in Englewood and Austin/West Garfield Park but a lesser concentration in Lakeview, not surprising given the large LGTB community in Boystown.
Thus, there appears to be variation in where transgender and non-transgender “buyers” are arrested. That’s not the only difference. The table below details other differences.
Transgender “buyers” are much more likely than non-transgender buyers to be black, non-Hispanic (92.7% compared to 43.4%). The transgender arrestees are also, on average, almost 10 years younger.
We should note that 10.5% of the arrestees were transgender, a shocking statistic. Are 10% of all arrestees transgender individuals who were arrested for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution (and not prostitution) in Chicago? It seems much more likely that these individuals were “sellers,” not “buyers.” But how could they appear on the website as “buyers?”
We think we’ve found the answer. Watch our next post to learn more…..
In the meantime, let us know what you think (firstname.lastname@example.org).