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Chicago Ends 2014 With 407 Murders

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 2, 2015 5:00PM

Photo Credit: Jeff Belcher
Chicago recorded 407 official homicides in 2014. The last murder was 33-year-old Reginald Jones, a tow truck driver who was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon. Police say a masked gunman followed Jones to a tire shop on the 8000 block of Stony Island Avenue and shot Jones several times while Jones was waiting for a customer. Jones owned his own tow truck for the past eight years and, according to family members, was a family man who stayed out of trouble with an upbeat personality and joking nature. He left behind three children and a girlfriend of 10 years.

The Chicago Police Department, as they have all year, said the murder totals were the lowest of any year since 1965, rather than remind residents this year’s numbers are only 105 fewer than 2012’s 512 murders. But the 2014 totals could increase if some of the Police Department’s pending “death investigations” are reclassified as homicides.

While the murder totals are down, shootings increased by 14 percent last year over 2013. In total, 2,599 people were shot last year. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy chose a rose-colored glasses approach to the numbers and noted they were the "second lowest shooting number on record." But CPD only started keeping track of shootings when McCarthy became the city’s top cop nearly four years ago.

Overall crime statistics have decreased thanks in part to McCarthy’s “saturation” strategy of flooding high-crime areas with extra police officers. But it’s a strategy that could have serious ramifications on the city’s budget and has credit rating agencies threatening to downgrade Chicago’s bond ratings. An average of 200 police officers worked overtime daily last year and overtime expenses are in excess of $95 million, $20 million more than budgeted. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s main opponents in next month’s mayoral election, Ald. Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, have made the overtime costs a campaign issue, attacking Emanuel for breaking a 2011 campaign promise to hire 1,000 more police officers. Emanuel refuted the attacks and said he and McCarthy have placed extra officers on the streets that were formerly in desk jobs.