McCarthy Taking Some Credit for Chicago’s Crime-Statistics Decline


Murder in Chicago was down more than two percent and overall crime down 8 percent this year, says the Chicago Sun-Times. Still, the South Side neighborhood of Englewood has been ground zero for harrowing crimes like Tuesday's mass shooting at a fast-food restaurant that left two dead and five wounded. This year, 56 people were killed in Englewood through Tuesday — a 40 percent increase over 2010. “If you live in a very dangerous neighborhood, you're still seeing a lot of crime,” said Arthur Lurigio, a criminal justice professor at Loyola University. “But the truth is that we're safer now than we were 40 years ago.”

Chicago's crime rates are at their lowest in decades. There were more than 800 murders in Chicago in 1970, compared to 419 this year through Tuesday and 437 through all of 2010. Other big cities like New York and Los Angeles have seen even more dramatic reductions in crime. New York's murder rate is a third of Chicago's, and Los Angeles' murder rate is about half of ours. “The goal is zero,” police superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “When I stop hearing about kids getting killed, when I stop hearing about kids getting shot, then maybe I'll be satisfied.” McCarthy is not happy with this year's murder totals but believes the department is responding to new strategies he put into place since he took office in May. Of nine categories of major crimes, the only ones to increase this year were aggravated sexual assault and motor vehicle theft, which both rose slightly.

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