Chicago murder rate at 1963 level, CPD says

May 1, 2013 2:42:26 PM PDT
The Chicago Police Department released figures indicating a 42 percent decline in the number of murders in the city in the first four months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.

Police officials say the 93 murders during the first quarter is the first time since 1963 the city had fewer than 100 murders during the period. There were 161 murders during the quarter last year.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy late Tuesday attributed the decline to a " comprehensive policing strategy and the hard work of our officers."

The police department has moved officers from administrative jobs and strike forces to beat patrols. The city is also offering overtime to hundreds of officers to work in the toughest neighborhoods on their days off.

But on the first day of May, there were more than a dozen shootings overnight. Those dozen shootings resulted in three deaths.

Darrin Rodgers, 27, was one of three people shot and killed in the city overnight. The father of four was, like many others, out enjoying the warm weather in front of his South Shore apartment, when his sister says a would be mugger shot him.

His sister, Sharon Rodgers, said he loved his children dearly and put them first.

"All my brother did was work and take care of his kids," she said.

The first hot day of the year was also violent. At least 16 others were injured in shootings across the city Tuesday.

"You have to look at what you're comparing it to. if you are comparing this year's number to an anomaly, there is a 10-percent decline from the 2011 homicide figures, when the murder rate was the lowest since 1965. The decline is not as dramatic as it seems. Spikes like what happened yesterday are inevitable as the seasons change and more people get outdoors," former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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