Just four hours and 16 minutes into the new year, Octavius Dontrell Lamb became the first person murdered in Chicago in 2013.
But McCarthy insists the tide is turning.
"There's no such thing as an acceptable murder rate," he said.
Chicago's tally of 506 murders last year was well ahead of the nation's largest city. New York had 418 murders, its lowest number on record.
We stop at nothing to keep people safe in this city and we will continue to do so," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
McCarthy came up through the NYPD ranks. Outside of his office there is a sign given to him as a joke that reads 'we don't care how they do it in New York'.
But that is not true. McCarthy said the big difference between the two cities is guns
"In the first six months of the year we seized nine guns for every one that New York City seized," he said.
New York has longer mandatory minimum sentences for those caught with illegal weapons. The state also requires lost or stolen guns to be reported within 24 hours. Illinois does not.
"You walk in with your FOID card and you can buy ten 9 millimeters and you can walk out and give them to whoever you want. And there's no accountability for what happens to those firearms," McCarthy said.
He hopes the 16-percent reduction in murders Chicago saw in the last quarter of the year is a trend that continues.
McCarthy does not see 500 homicides for Chicago in 2013, he said.