Murders, shootings and other violent crimes in Chicago through the first half of 2019 have dropped compared with the same period last year, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The 236 murder total was a seven percent decline from the same period last year, police said. It marks the lowest numbers of murders in Chicago since 2016. The Sun-Times counted 241 homicides this year, more than the police number. Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples said the clearance rate for homicide cases is 51 percent, up from 33 percent three years ago.
Reported shootings in the first six months of the year totaled 978, an 11 percent decline from the same period last year. They are at their lowest levels since 2015. There were 242 in June, down from 257 reported in June 2018. More than 5,200 illegal guns were seized by officers in 2019, putting the police department on pace to surpass the nearly 10,000 illegal guns seized over the same period last year. Other crimes — robberies, burglaries and vehicle thefts — were at a 20-year low. “The results so far are certainly no cause for celebration, but rather serve as our guide for where we want to be as a city and as a department,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The announcement about crime numbers came at the end of a weekend that saw 56 people shot across the city, four of them fatally. Johnson said higher bond amounts for people arrested on gun possession charges could make people think twice about carrying weapons. The department is yet to detail enforcement plans for the July 4 holiday, which often sees a crime spike.