Chicago has at least 3 homicides already in 2018

Erika Holt
January 12, 2018

Per capita, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis, and several other statistically "large cities" have higher homicide rates than Chicago.

Chicago, which in 2016 suffered through its deadliest year in two decades with 754 killings, saw its murder total drop last year to 650, the largest year-to-year decline since 2004, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Meanwhile, Chicago police said the city saw a 15.69 percent drop in murders in 2017. Shooting incidents and shooting victims also dropped in 2017 compared to the previous year-there were 2,785 shooting incidents and 3,457 shooting victims as compared to 2016's 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,349 shooting victims.

"There's still a lot of work ahead of us, but we're heading in the right direction", Johnson said.

The centers use predictive crime software to enable a more efficient deployment of officers, install more cameras, set up gunshot detection systems and send real-time notifications and intelligence data to officers on their smartphones, the department said.

Crime fell by 43 percent in Englewood district and 26 percent in Harrison, the first two districts to employ so-called Strategic Decision Support Centers, police said.

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The six districts equipped with Strategic Decision Support Centers on the city's South and West sides saw an average 25 percent drop in shootings a year ago compared to 2016, police said.

Johnson said that department plans to expand the data-driven nerve centers to more city neighborhoods in 2018. In one suspected gang shooting in February, a 2-year-old boy was killed on the West Side while riding in a auto with his uncle.

To crack down on gang members, Johnson said prosecutors and police will step up use of the state's anti-racketeering law "to hold leaders of these gangs more accountable".

The department is also bringing on more officers, and they will be dispatched to some of the city's most violent areas. Meanwhile, gun arrests increased 27 percent and police reported seizing more than 8,600 illegal weapons.

"My concern is that if we put too much emphasis ... on policing and technology and not enough on the investments in social services, those numbers will go up again because we have not addressed the social conditions that are driving all the violence", he said.

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