Shootings down in July despite violent holiday weekend

August 1, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The police department released the new numbers overnight. And Superintendent Garry McCarthy says clearly there is more work to be done. But the city is seeing some improvement.

According to the numbers, in the first seven months of the year, murders are down 25 percent and shootings are down 23 percent. Also for the month of July alone, there were two fewer murders than in July 2012 and 57 fewer shootings, and 59 fewer shootings than in July 2011 and eight fewer murders than July 2011.

The numbers are surprising considering the city started the month with a violent Fourth of July weekend when more than 70 people were shot and at least 12 people killed in shootings.

During the month, several children were caught in gun crossfire. This week, 4-year-old Khalise Weatherspoon was shot in the stomach while she was riding her scooter in Marquette Park. Her condition is now improving.

Police say they recovered 608 illegal guns in July and have recovered 4,128 illegal guns so far this year. But the police superintendent is not declaring any victory, saying no amount of violence is acceptable.

"We're pleased; it's another month in the box with progress," McCarthy said. "The fact is even though it was a violent start to the month the shooting numbers were still going in the right direction and we have to have that perspective because looking at every individual incident, every one of them is a tragedy and we have to keep taking a step back and measuring if we are doing better."

"To have the lowest numbers at the end of July that you ever had in the past five years that's fantastic, and I certainly hope they can keep it up. But August has always been a challenging month," said Jody Weis, ABC7 public safety expert.

Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Shields continues to stress that more officers need to be hired despite the new numbers.

"There's a direct correlation between safety on the street and amount of officers employed, despite what the mayor and superintendent say. Otherwise, they wouldn't be deploying 400 Chicago police officers per night on their days off," Shields said.

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