After a disastrous 2012 that saw Chicago get national attention for its violence, homicides and shootings declined by double digits in 2013, the best numbers in half a century, police tell the Chicago Tribune. The homicide total hit a symbolic mark of 400 yesterday but that was a far cry from the more than 500 recorded in all of last year, only the second time that milestone had been reached in the last decade.
Criminologists didn’t pinpoint precise reasons for the decline, but high-ranking police officials credited the department’s flooding the most dangerous neighborhoods with hundreds of extra cops. That success came at a steep price of nearly $100 million in overtime pay, triple the amount budgeted for 2013 by the city. Among other likely contributing factors were Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s insistence on accountability from his commanders, innovative attempts at preventing retaliatory shootings and harsh winter weather in early 2013.