Fewest murders in Chicago from Jan. to Aug. in more than 50 years, police say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago had the fewest number of murders in the first eight months of the year in more than 50 years, according to police.

From January to August of 2014, there were 21 fewer murders than in 2013 and 101 fewer murders than the same time period in 2012. That's the fewest number of murders since 1963, police said.

However, the number of shootings and shooting victims are up.

"There's all sorts of reasons for it. But at the end of the day, our progress is the result of the overall picture. It's not one thing," Supt. Garry McCarthy said. "People always want to know, 'What's the one thing you're doing that works?' It's not one thing."

McCarthy said comparing murder to shooting ratios is "not an exact science . . . but over the long haul, reducing the shootings will reduce the murder rate."

"If police work was only about deployment. . . then the argument that we need more police would continue. Because we'd have to put police officers on every corner, on every block, in every household to prevent what's happening," McCarthy said. His strategy has been to identify "people, places and things that are involved and intervening."

McCarthy said once again that he believes stronger state and federal laws would keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

"Even with the best policing, and the best policing strategy in the world, without better laws to help keep illegal guns of the streets and out of the hands of criminals, we will continue to face an uphill battle," McCarthy said.

He also said the community played a big role in helping solve cases.

According to police statistics, overall crime is down 14 percent in Chicago.

Since the beginning of Labor Day weekend on Friday, three people are dead and 30 have been wounded across the city.

In one incident, a 29-year-old man was shot to death and another man, also 29, was wounded in the 7400-block of North Ridge Avenue in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood on Sunday night. Police have not offered a motive in the case.

A 15-year-old girl was shot early Sunday morning in the city's West Englewood neighborhood. Police said she was shot in the leg and is in stable condition.

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