Chicago recorded 435 homicides in 2010, marking the city’s lowest murder total in 45 years, reports the Chicago Tribune. The number was down from 460 in 2009 and 513 in 2008, and is the lowest since 1965, when the city had 395 killings. “That is an astonishing and big drop,” said Franklin Zimring of the University of California at Berkeley. The decline is part of a decadelong trend in violent crime in Chicago and across the nation.
Total crime in Chicago through Dec. 27 was down 4.3 percent, and violent crime was down 10.3 percent. Criminologist Wesley Skogan of Northwestern University attributed some of the overall decline to smarter policing, including the use of technology to do real-time deployments of officers, and the higher incarceration rates in the 1990s. Violent crime still has a chokehold on some neighborhoods. Skogan, who studied the department’s districts to look at neighborhood crime trends, found that since 2003 many African-American neighborhoods were not enjoying declines in crime similar to what white, Hispanic or diverse neighborhoods saw.