July sees turnaround in Chicago murder rate

August 2, 2012 9:58:05 AM PDT
New crime numbers from the Chicago Police Department show a drop in the number of murders last month, but the overall homicide rate for the year remains up.

Chicago police say overall crime is down 10 percent for the year. But the city has still seen more murders at this time of the year than at this time in 2011.

In July, Chicago saw 49 homicides, which is one of the lowest monthly totals in 25 years. However, compared to last year, the murder rate in Chicago is still up 26.7 percent overall at 308 murders. The month of July is the first month this year to see a decline from last year.

A Chicago police credit the city's Gang Violence Reduction Strategy for the murder decline.

"It is a comprehensive, interlocking strategy where everyone is focusing on getting violence reduction, and it is focused on preventing the retaliatory shooting that is going to happen once a shooting occurs," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

He says for the month of July, homicides are down by 11 percent compared to July of 2011.

CPD says murders peaked in April at a 66-percent increase in comparison to the same timeframe last year. Since that time, the uptick has dropped to an increase of 27 percent, compared to the same time last year.

CPD also says there has been a decrease in shooting incidents from their high point of 40 percent higher than the previous year to a 6-percent increase.

McCarthy says the department's plan is to focus on reducing shootings themselves.

"As a result, the shooting rate went from 40 percent up to 6 percent up, and the murder rate is now following. We are not looking at a one-month success. By the way, forty-nine people murdered in the city of chicago is in no way, shape, or form is a success," McCarthy said.

The Fraternal Order of Police says the gang strategy of moving current officers on overtime to problem neighborhoods is not working and contends more manpower is needed. The FOP says the public should focus on year-to-year totals, not monthly comparisons.

Anti-violence group CeaseFire says the bottom line is homicides overall are up.

"Using statistics from year to year, it shows that they are up, it means we still have a lot of work to do and we still as a community and city need to band together and help get these numbers back, and I think everyone in Chicago is committed to helping stop the violence," said Bob Jackson, CeaseFire.

CeaseFire in Rosewood says there are two specific communities where they have not seen a murder in two years.

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