Chicago Homicides Down In July

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 2, 2012 2:30PM

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Photo Credit: Jeff Belcher
Good news for Chicago's murder rate. Only 49 murders were recorded in July, which is the third-lowest rate in the last quarter century. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy credited a gang violence reduction strategy he implemented last year for finally having an effect. However, Chicago’s murder rate in 2012 is still up 26.8 percent over 2011 and shootings have increased 6 percent compared to last year.

“A 6 percent increase is nothing to brag about, but it looks like incremental success — and the murder rate is following,” he said.

Through July 31 308 murders have been recorded in Chicago. The murder rate spiked nearly 60 percent in the first three months of 2012. Many experts blamed the city’s unusually warm winter for the spike in murders, but McCarthy said the major factor has been a splintering in gang factions. The Chicago Police Department’s Gang Violence Reduction Strategy uses “gang audits” to gather intelligence on gangs and funnel them down to beat officers and tactical officers to reduce retaliatory shootings.

July’s murder numbers hasn’t stopped some aldermen from calling for a return to the roving tactical units McCarthy disbanded to combat the gang scourge. Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said “one month does not change my opinion about the need for specialized units” while praising the July numbers.

McCarthy said he’ll stick with the current strategies.