Chicago shootings, murders decline in May 2017, police say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police released a new snap-shot of what may be the biggest challenge facing the city: gun violence. The CPD said there is more work to be done, but the latest crime numbers show a positive trend.

The number of shootings and murders in Chicago declined for the fourth consecutive month in May, police said. There were 56 murders and 317 shooting victims in May 2017, compared to 68 murders and 395 shooting victims in May 2016.

Since January 1, 2017, there have been 233 murders and more than 1,300 shooting victims in Chicago. Police said this accounts for a decline in the violence rate, a trend they hope to keep up.

Police said the new numbers show a step in the right direction, but some people in Chicago's high-crime communities said they don't feel any safer.

Alice Williams has lived in the city's Austin neighborhood since 1995. She said she hears shooting from her West Side apartment every night. She said if the violence is going down, she doesn't see it.

"I don't feel no safer because it's really up around this area," Williams said.

One of the last deadly shootings for the month happened around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the city's South Chicago neighborhood. A 32-year-old tow-truck driver was shot several times in the 8800-block of South Houston Avenue. He died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Police still searching for his killer.

This kind of violence is something the CPD is trying to prevent. Police said they are using several strategies to keep crime down.

Police said the six districts that have operational predictive technology strategies - the Gresham, Englewood, Deering, Ogden, Harrison and Austin districts - have seen a 22 percent reduction in shootings compared to the same period last year. The department expanded its use of ShotSpotter gunfire sensors and gunfire intelligence centers earlier this year. Sixteen of the city's 22 police districts saw a reduction or remained flat in shootings compared to this time last year, police said.

Police have attributed the reduction in part to efforts to prevent violence over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, including targeted raids that led to the arrest of more than 100 people or the deployment of an additional 1,300 officers for patrols on each day of the weekend.
This Memorial Day weekend saw six people killed and 44 others wounded in shootings across the city, down from the six killed and 63 wounded over the same holiday weekend in 2016.

"While we certainly are not claiming victory, and we have a lot more work to do, I am encouraged by the reduction in violence we saw this past month, especially over the Memorial Day weekend," CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a statement. "As we continue to make good on our investments across the Department and across the city, I believe we will make this a safer year for Chicago."

CPD First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro joined ABC7 News This Morning to speak on the latest crime statistics.

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The number of shootings and homicides in Chicago declined for the fourth month in a row in May, according to police.

"We're seeing downward trends for shootings. This is the third month in a row we've gone down in shootings and I think that comes back to our smart policing - putting officers in the right places at the right times," Navarro said.

Andrew Holmes, an anti-violence activist, credits the police department and community activists like himself for sending the message to kids to keep their hands off guns. But Holmes doesn't put too much stock in the new numbers.

"Over all, if you look at it, I mean, we could easily start this month off and all of a sudden have an increase if we don't keep working and then we're back at square one again," Holmes said.

The CPD said police don't plan to roll out any new strategies this summer. They believe they already have the right pieces in place.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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