For the second consecutive calendar year, Chicago in 2014 is on track to record its lowest murder totals in nearly five decades, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The news comes even as the city has witnessed a rise in the number of shootings.
Once dubbed the murder capital of the nation, the city has recorded some of the most-senseless gun deaths. Now, the Chicago Police Department is reporting 390 murders through Dec. 20th, while the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported 410 homicides, including 16 fatal police shootings, during the same period, the Sun-Times writes. An additional 10 homicides and one fatal police shooting have been recorded since Dec. 20th, the report says.
The statistics represent a 2 to 4 percent decrease in killings from 2013, and a 19 to 20 percent decrease from the unusually high 2012, when there were 504 murders.
It would be fewest killings in any year since the 397 slayings in 1965.
Indeed, the city has gone from 943 murders in 1992 to 633 in 2000 to just more than 400 in each of the past two years.
“While the data shows Chicago has seen the fewest murders and lowest crime rate in decades, the ultimate measure of our success is how our residents feel in their communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, according to the Sun-Times.
As a result of the recent decline in the number of homicides, Chicago is in line with the national Great Crime Decline that has spanned more than 20 years, Yale sociologist Andrew Papachristos said, the Sun-Times reports.
Although the city’s overall murder total remained close to 2013, the report says, the same cannot be said for the number of people wounded in gun violence. The Sun-Times says more than 2,500 people were wounded by gunfire through Dec. 20th — a 13 percent increase from 2013. The total was, however, a 14 percent decrease from 2012.
In an attempt to continue to witness declining gun violence, the city started or expanded several new policies in 2014, including boosting its custom notification program to make more personal visits to those involved in active gang conflicts, putting more officers on the street in high-crime areas over the summer and investing in more bike patrol officers.