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Murders Down, Shootings Up In Chicago Through September

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 1, 2014 3:00PM

Photo Credit: Jeff Belcher
The Chicago Police Department released crime numbers for the year to date Wednesday morning and the numbers are a mixed bag. CPD officially lists 298 murders through Sept. 30—22 fewer than the same time frame last year, or a 7 percent drop—and 102 fewer than the eye-popping 2012 numbers that still drive (incorrect) national stories about Chicago being the murder capital of America.

While that is good news, here’s the flip side of the coin. The total number of shooting incidents and shooting victims to date are up over the same time frame last year. There were 1,552 shooting incidents through Sept. 30, a 5 percent increase, while the number of shooting victims rose to 1,927, a 6 percent increase. CPD says this year’s shooting totals are the second fewest on record, trailing only last year’s numbers. Overall crime, according to the department, dropped 14 percent.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy took a rose-colored glasses view of the numbers and said they're a result of best practices within the department. McCarthy used the opportunity as another call for tighter state and federal gun laws.

“In the past two years we have led a return to community policing in Chicago, breaking down of middle management in the Department, putting more officers back on the beat, taking new proactive steps to intervene in gang conflicts, and building stronger relationships with faith leaders, community leaders and residents. In that time we have seen significant reductions and historic lows in crime and violence, yet so much more work remains. We will continue to implement our strategy, making adjustments and adding new elements along the way, and no one will rest until everyone enjoys the same sense of safety. But until there are better state and federal laws in place to slow the flood of illegal guns into our communities, we will continue to face an uphill battle.”

CPD stuck with its ongoing narrative that the homicide numbers are the lowest of any year since 1965, a time when Chicago’s population was higher than the current day. The department noted the third quarter of 2014 marks eight consecutive quarters the murder rate has dropped. There have been 129 fewer murders and a 14 percent drop in the homicide rate during that period. CPD also claims 500 fewer shooting incidents and 500 fewer shooting victims in that time frame.