A bit of good news out of Chicago Thursday, as the Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced that homicides and shootings are down citywide for the third straight month when compared to last year.
Chicago set a record with the number of shootings in the city in 2016, with 3,550 incidents. That year also recorded the most homicides in two decades with 762 murders on file. All in all, Chicago averaged 2 murders and almost 10 shootings a day.
Looking at the month of May, in 2016, there were 316 shootings and 68 homicides in the Windy City. This year in May, homicides decreased to 56 and the number of shootings went down to 257, according to the CPD.
In their statement, the CPD said several policies implemented in May have contributed to a decrease in both categories. They credit:
- The launch of a police “Summer Mobile team” to target lakefronts and parks,
- The deployment of 1,300 additional police officers citywide over Memorial Day weekend,
- Multiple raids over Memorial Day weekend,
- The launch of “the fourth annual Summer of Faith and Action, a citywide initiative designed to promote positive community engagement and alternative programming for youth throughout the summer months.”
Overall this year, shootings are down by almost 14 percent compared to last year.
The CPD also credited support for their “Safe Neighborhoods Reform Act, which provides guidelines for holding repeat violent gun offenders accountable while expanding diversion programs for first-time nonviolent offenders,” which Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson included in his testimony before the House Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee in May.
In addition, the CPD’s “predictive policing strategy” expanded in May. Now implemented in a third police district, the strategy uses “predictive technology and analytical tools to help police get ahead of crime and prevent violence from happening in the first place.” The department says it aims to make “district intelligence and data-driven enforcement the driver of Chicago’s crime fight.”
In the statement, Superintendent Johnson said:
“While we certainly are not claiming victory, and we have a lot more work to do, I am encouraged by the reduction in violence we saw this past month, especially over the Memorial Day weekend.
As we continue to make good on our investments across the Department and across the city, I believe we will make this a safer year for Chicago. It is my hope that this will not just be a CPD or city initiative, but that residents, business owners, clergy, and others will join our call to put the guns down and help us give kids in some of our communities a summer without the familiar sounds of gunshots.”
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