After a stunning rise in murder drew national attention to Chicago early this year, the city has seen a leveling off in killings, says the Chicago Sun-Times. Through the end of September, 406 people were murdered this year — nearly 28 percent more than the same period of 2011. Murders were up 66 percent this year through March. Some experts attributed the spring spike in murders to historically warm temperatures, which may have drawn more shooters outside.
Crime is down this year in every other major category, including sexual assault, aggravated battery, robbery, burglary, felony theft, and motor vehicle theft, the police department said. Some of the most gang-ridden districts in the city have seen major reductions in homicides this year. Other areas have continued to see disturbing levels of bloodshed. Police estimate at least 75 percent of the city's violence is the result of gang activity. The department is trying to prevent gang shootings through a strategy using “gang audits” to pinpoint gangs' locations and their activity.