Despite its rank as the nation’s third-most-populous city, Chicago far outpaces New York and Los Angeles in the sheer number of homicides, says the Chicago Tribune. New York City posted 134 slayings as of June 22, while Los Angeles had 119 as of June 7. Both also had far fewer shooting victims — 576 in New York and 390 in L.A. In the first half of 2014, there were 171 homicides in Chicago, and shootings rose more than 5.5 percent compared with the first half of 2013.
Still, Chicago homicides were far lower than the particularly violent levels of 2012, when Chicago topped 500 homicides for only the third time in a decade. The momentum from last year’s improvements appears to have slowed. In the past, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has credited a combination of strategies he has undertaken for contributing to the drop in violence, but he has acknowledged that violence remains stubbornly high. McCarthy, who has been on the job for more than three years, was sidelined for much of June after a heart attack. Other top police and city officials denied disappointment over the six-month figures. They noted that the underlying problems in crime-ridden neighborhoods — including impoverished families, few job opportunities and low-performing schools — are deep and complicated, and will take more than the police department to overcome.