Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stood before a crowd of civic leaders and business people last week and touted a major decline in the number of shootings in Englewood, long one of the most violent parts of Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “The crime reduction in Englewood is at a historic high,” Johnson said in an interview. “I don’t know if people recognize how huge that is. We’re not claiming victory. But that’s progress.”
Johnson carefully couched the news as just one step in dealing with the violence that’s pushed Chicago into an unwelcome national spotlight. The Chicago Police Department’s Englewood District is on pace to see the fewest shootings there since 1998 — with 34 fewer killings this year vs. the same span last year. Yet Chicago has logged its 600th killing so far this year — a grim milestone the city has reached only twice in an entire year since 2003. Violent crime citywide this year has fallen only slightly since last year, when 780 people were killed in Chicago — the most the city has seen in any year since the mid-1990s, found a Sun-Times analysis. The number of reported incidents of violent crime citywide is down just 1 percent so far in 2017. The city has seen a 12 percent increase in criminal sexual assault, with 1,780 such assaults reported to police, the largest increase in any category of violent crime.