At the year’s midpoint, 323 people have died in Chicago violence, one more homicide than a year earlier, the Chicago Tribune reports . With the bulk of the summer still ahead, the city is on course to top 700 homicides for a second consecutive year, a mark that had otherwise not been reached in two decades. Though far from ranking as the nation’s murder capital on a per-capita basis, Chicago is the runaway leader in the sheer volume of killings and shootings. Chicago had 50 more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined through mid-June, even though it is far less populous than both.
Shootings in the city are down by 14 percent this year compared to the first six months of 2016, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. As of Friday night, 1,752 people had been shot during the first half of this year. The police department touted June as the fourth straight month with a reduction in shootings compared to the same time last year. “All of us who love this city were saddened and sickened with the level of violence last year …” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “Over the first six months of 2017 we have implemented a smart policing strategy that is showing early signs of progress.” This year, the department deployed more ShotSpotter gunfire detectors and “Strategic Decision Support Centers” in five police districts. Shootings have fallen by about a third in those districts — a decline that was five times larger than districts without the so-called “intel nerve centers.” Johnson said the “early results from this evidence-based, data-driven approach have even impressed some of the old-timers in the police department.”