Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Chicago Police: City Saw 16 Percent Drop In Murders In 2017

Patty Aguilar | 01 January, 2018, 22:03

The numbers differ because unlike the Tribune, it does not count homicides on expressways as well as fatal shootings by police officers and homicides considered justified. Shooting incidents fell 22 percent and the number of shooting victims fell by 892 people, a 21 percent drop.

"I am proud of the progress our officers made in reducing gun violence all across the city in 2017, but none of us are satisfied", Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement, adding that the force would be working even harder in the new year to crack down on the gun violence and to save more lives.

The city was also coming off a high baseline after the number of homicides in 2016, which represented a almost 60 percent spike from the previous year. "While we made significant progress this year, we certainly aren't celebrating". Police said it happened around 2:20 a.m.in the 3900-block of West Cornelia Avenue.

In 2016, Chicago reported more than 700 homicides and over 4,000 shooting victims. The number of yearly homicides in Chicago had hovered between 400 and just about 500, between 2007 and 2015.

President Trump has repeatedly ridiculed Chicago officials for doing too little to stem the violence.

The city reached 670 homicides in the past year, according to data kept by the Tribune, down from the 792 in 2016 when it hit a level of gun violence Chicago had not seen since the mid-1990s. All officers on regular beat patrol wear body cameras.

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Johnson said the reduction has sparked hope in some neighborhoods, and he credited the decrease to community engagement and data-driven policing.

That included the use of "strategic decision support centers" in neighborhoods that have struggled with violence, he said last month.

The United States' third largest city still ranks No. 1 in murders, with more than the two largest cities combined. They also provide "additional cameras, gunshot detection systems, and mobile phones to officers in the field who receive real-time notifications and intelligence data at their fingertips", Chicago police say on its website.

Experts are not so enthusiastic about the drop, saying Chicago will still end 2017 with historically high homicide totals. Atlanta, Washington, Oakland, Memphis and Kansas City, for instance, all have higher violent crime rates.

Police attributed the drop to putting more officers on the streets, investing in new technology and a smarter policing strategy.

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