UPDATED 07/07/11 7:26 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says summer can present unique challenges, but despite that, crime stats are showing a different picture.

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As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Michele Fiore reports, Numbers through the end of June show a decrease in homicide, aggravated assault and battery, and criminal sexual assault. This is the 30th consecutive month to see a decrease in violent and overall crime, police said.

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Murders are down 14.4 percent, and through the end of June, there have been 31 fewer homicides this year than the same time frame last year, according to a police News Affairs release.

More than half of the 25 districts showed decreases in their homicide numbers and most of those districts showed double or triple digit reductions.

The release said the broader violent crime statistics showed across the board decreases in every category of violent crime. Aggravated batteries — which include shootings — dropped by 14.2 percent, while aggravated assault and robbery declined by 13.6 and 3.9 percent, respectively. Criminal sexual assaults were down slightly, declining by 1.7 percent.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in the release that these decreases in violent crime are an encouraging start to what is traditionally a busy time of year for police.

“The summer months can present unique challenges for the Department,” McCarthy said in the release. “The hard-working men and women of the Chicago Police Department have done a tremendous job responding to those challenges, and these numbers are a testament to their dedication.”

While property crime overall was down 2.9 percent, there were increases in three categories of property crime. Burglary and arson increased by 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively while motor vehicle theft was up 17.4 percent, according to the release.

Incidents of theft dropped by 8.8 percent and property crime overall continued its downward trend of recent months.

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Chicago Police continue to work aggressively to combat these increases in property crime categories, particularly motor vehicle theft, the release said.

Within the last month, police shut down two “chop shops” operating on the West Side. In early June, officers executed a search warrant on a West Side warehouse that led to the recovery of two confirmed stolen vehicles as well as 29 additional vehicles in various stages of dismantling, the release said.

Working with members of the Northeast Metro Auto Theft Task Force and other agencies, two suspects were arrested and charged in connection with the search warrant, the release said.

Earlier this week police concluded a four month investigation dubbed Operation “Pay Back” in which four suspects were charged for their role in an active auto theft ring operating citywide, the release said.

The following statistics are through the end of June:

Violent Index Crime is down 8.9 percent

— Homicide – down 14.4 percent
— Criminal Sexual Assault – down 1.7 percent
— Robbery – down 3.9 percent
— Aggravated Assault – down 13.6 percent
— Aggravated Battery – down 14.2 percent

Property Index Crime is down 2.9 percent

— Theft – down 8.8 percent
— Burglary – up 0.2 percent
— Motor Vehicle Theft – up 17.4 percent
— Arson – up 0.4 percent

Overall crime was down 4.2 percent compared to crime numbers through June of 2010.

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The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.