A concerted effort to reduce violent crime in Chicago during the Memorial Day weekend appears to have led to a drop in shootings, the Wall Street Journal reports. Increased police presence across the nation’s third-largest city and raids targeting gangs helped drive a reduction in violent crime, authorities said, with about half as many people shot than during the holiday weekend last year. As of 2 p.m. Monday, 27 people had been shot in 21 incidents since Friday evening, compared with 53 people shot in 35 incidents over the same period last year. Last year, violence over the Memorial Day weekend was the start of a bloody summer in the city. The year ended with more than 4,000 shootings and 762 homicides, the largest single-year increase in violent crime that any of the five largest U.S. cities had experienced in at least 25 years.
The drop this holiday weekend suggests police are having initial success in bringing down violent crime through stepped-up enforcement and cooperation with federal agencies. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the main difference is seeing police on the streets. About 1,300 additional officers were deployed to patrol over this long weekend, compared with 880 in 2016. The weekend began with several gang raids, a culmination of cooperation between Chicago police and federal authorities. Parallel anti-violence and gang raids resulted in 77 arrests, the seizure of 10 illegal guns, more than 176 traffic citations and the confiscation of illegal drugs as of Saturday night.