Chicago Homicides Down, City Still Leading U.S.

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Police in Chicago said 36 people were shot —including seven fatally — over the Memorial Day weekend, slightly less gunfire than the city has seen over the holiday weekend in the previous two years, USA Today reports. The city tallied six murders and 44 wounded on last year’s Memorial Day weekend, and seven murders and 61 shooting victims in 2016. The reduction in gun violence comes as officials are trying to turn the corner after two horrendous years in which Chicago recorded 650 murders in 2017 and 762 murders in 2016 — more homicides than any other U.S. city and a level of gun violence more typical of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when many cities were battered by the scourge of gang-fueled drug violence.

The city has had 191 murders so far in 2018, compared with 237 murders at the same point last year, and is on pace once again to record more homicides than any other U.S. city. There have been 821 shooting incidents so far this year compared with 1,032 at the same point last year. Despite the 19 percent decline in murders and 20 percent decrease in shootings, Chicago has tallied nearly as many homicides in 2018 as New York City (106) and Los Angeles (92) combined. Chicago has invested millions of dollars in improving technology to help officers respond to shootings and better predict areas that could be hotspots for violence. Crime analysts from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab work with police at 13 of the city’s 22 police districts in what have been dubbed Strategic Decision Support Centers.

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