Chicago Arrest, Court, and Public Records

Crime Statistics

The Chicago Police Department provides annual citywide crime statistics. In 2017 the city recorded 118,805 crime incidences. Property crime made up nearly 75% of total crimes with up to 89,041 cases, while violent crimes made up the rest with 29,764 recorded incidences. A further breakdown of the data reveals that theft was the most common crime, accounting for up to 64,000 incidences while burglary was the second most common.

Compared to 2016, violent crime incidents dropped by 1.55% while property crime increased by 1.49%. Incidences of murder and arson dropped by 15% and 12% respectively while human trafficking (also categorized under involuntary servitude) slipped by 8.33%. Conversely, cases of rape grew by 6% while theft and motor vehicle theft rose by 4.18% and 1.15% respectively.

Police Reports and Arrest Records

The Chicago Police Department serves as the main repository for police records. It manages and provides access to different types of information and records, including officer information reports, customized crime reports, incident reports, 911 audio, and other customized information requests.

How to Request for Chicago Police Records

Individuals who have been victims of a crime may make requests for rap sheets or any other document containing information to substantiate a loss or damage to property or a personal injury. Involved parties may request police reports at:

Chicago Police Department
Records Inquiry and Customer Service Section, Unit 163
3510 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

Requests made by affected parties should include the report number (RD number) provided by the police, the location of the incident, and the victim’s (or reporting person’s) address and full name. It should also be accompanied by a:

  • Check or money order made out to the Department of Revenue, City of Chicago
  • Self-Addressed stamped envelope

Applicable fees may include $5.00 for each copy of a Traffic Crash report, 50 cents for each copy of a case report and $20.00 for any report generated by the accident reconstruction team or accident reconstruction officer.

Public Record Police Requests

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act provides access to public records. However, any request for police and arrest reports made by individuals who were uninvolved in the incident must be reviewed prior to release. This is done to ensure the report is free of investigative portions or any other sensitive information not permitted by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Such requests will need to be typed or printed. They should also include a description of the records being requested as well as the requestor’s name, phone number and mailing address. Requests can be made using the department’s FOIA request form, which can be downloaded online. Requests for records designed for a commercial purpose must be disclosed in the request.

There are four major ways of submitting requests to the Chicago Police department.

  1. By email: Requests should be addressed to foia@chicagopolice.org

  2. In person: Request forms can be dropped off at the office of the Police Records Customer Service section between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The office is open all through the work week, except on holidays.

  3. Via Fax: Requests can be sent to (312) 745-6948 with a cover sheet made to the attention of “Freedom of Information Office”

  4. By U.S Mail: Request forms must be mailed to the:

Chicago Police Department
Attn: Freedom of Information Officer
Freedom of Information Section, Unit 114
3510 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

Except in instances defined by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the Chicago Police Department charges fees for certifying or reproducing public records. However, no fee is charged for the first 50 pages of black and white copies.

How to Obtain a Chicago Background Check

To obtain a Chicago background check and complete a criminal history request form, individuals must provide a current and valid state driver’s license or a current and valid state identification card. The Chicago Police Department also maintains a sex offender database of offenders convicted of a sexual offense residing in the city, which is updated daily.

Chicago Court Records

The Clerk of the Circuit Court keeps court records of cases held in the Chicago area. The County provides an online portal where individuals can search for cases in the civil, law and domestic relations divisions. Searches can be based by name, Cook County court attorney code, filing date or case number.

It also provides an online docket for probate case searches. Individuals can visit the probate platform and search for court records using the case number, filing date, or subject name. Retrieving copies of court documents requires a trip to the courthouse located at:

50 West Washington Street
Room 1001
Chicago, IL 60602

To conduct searches, requestors must provide the case number and specific information, such as the type of case, dates, and names of the parties involved. The Clerk charges separate fees for certified copies, uncertified copies of documents, and searches.

Certified copies cost $9.00 per certified document while searches cost $9.00 for each year. Uncertified copies attract $2.00 for each first page copied and $0.50 for the next 19 pages. The remaining pages are billed at $ .25 per page. Money orders and checks must be made payable to the “Clerk of Circuit Court.”

Chicago Public Records

The Cook County Clerk office is responsible for keeping the records of marriages, births, civil unions and deaths that occur in Chicago. It also provides copies of these documents to eligible individuals.

The Cook County Clerk office charges a $17 fee for certified death certificates with $6 for any additional copies. Requestors may legally obtain a certificate if they can prove a relationship to the deceased.

A flat $15 fee is charged for birth certificates with $4 for any additional copy of the same record. However, birth certificates are free for individuals who are homeless, living in a domestic violence shelter, or individuals recently incarcerated or released within the last 90 days. To request a free birth certificate, download and complete a request form.

Requests for any vital records must be accompanied by proof of ID. As proof of identification, the Cook County Clerk’s office accepts:

  • U.S Passport or Foreign Passport
  • Valid Driver’s license or State Identification card
  • U.S Naturalization Certificate
  • U.S Selective Service Card
  • U.S Military Identification Card
  • Consulate Identification

In the absence of any of the above, a combination of two of these will be required:

  • Vehicle registration card
  • Bank statement (within 90 days)
  • Voter’s Registration Card (90 days old)
  • Social Security Card
  • Vehicle Registration Card
  • Savings book or Checkbook (with name and address)
  • W-2 Form (for current year)