CHICAGO (STMW) — Chicago police say that murders are down by 14.2 percent, aggravated batteries including shootings are down by 17.8 percent and violent crime overall has dropped by 11.6 percent as compared to April, 2010, according to preliminary statistics released Sunday.

There were two categories that showed increases as compared to last April — motor vehicle theft was up by 20.1 percent and arsons were up by 7.7 percent, , according to a release from police News Affairs.

The results mark the 28th consecutive month of crime drops overall, including in violent and property index offenses in the city, the release said.

The statistics suggest that total crime was down 7.2 percent compared to crime numbers through April of 2010, including violent crime, which dropped by 11.6 percent and property crime, which dropped by 6.1 percent, according to the release.

Murders were recorded down by 14.2 percent — and there have been 17 fewer homicides this year than the same time frame last year. Nearly half of the 25 police districts demonstrated decreases in murders and most of those showed double or triple digit reductions, the release said.

The broader violent crime statistics showed that every category of violent crime they looked at decreased, led by a 17.8 percent decline in the number of aggravated batteries. Aggravated assaults and robberies declined by 15.6 and 6.7 percent, respectively, according to the release.

Criminal sexual assaults were down slightly, declining only by 1.8 percent.

Interim Superintendent Terry Hillard indicated that these decreases in violent crime are an encouraging sign during this transitional period.

“It has been my duty since March to keep the Department moving forward and have the Department prepared to move successfully into the future with the new Superintendent,” Hillard said in the release.

“These crime reductions, particularly the reduction in homicide totals, are a testament to the hard work of the men and women of the Chicago Police Department and their focus on the task at hand during a period of change for the city and the department,” Hillard said in the release.

Finally, while property crime overall was down 6.1 percent, the statistics showed that burglaries were down by 4.6 percent and theft decreased by 12. 9 percent.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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