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(AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Richard A. Chapman)

CHICAGO (AP) — Police say there have been 102 fewer homicides and nearly 500 fewer shooting victims in Chicago this year, compared to the first nine months of 2017.

The department said in a news release Monday that the drop continues a nearly two-year trend. The department says the falling numbers are due largely to the expanded use of high-tech crime-fighting tools and the hiring of hundreds of new officers.

The totals for September were particularly encouraging: 42 homicides compared to 60 in September 2017 and 260 shooting victims compared to 328 in the previous September.

For the first nine months of 2018 there have been 418 homicides this year compared to 520 for the same period in 2017. The number of shooting victims fell from 2,796 to 2,299.

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