By Todd Feurer
CHICAGO (CBS) — Acknowledging “there’s a lot more work to be done,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the number of murders so far this year in Chicago is at the lowest level since 1965.READ MORE: 'WasteShed' Art Store, Selling Recycled Supplies For Less, Opens Second Location In Evanston
However, the number of shootings and shooting victims was up compared to last year.
McCarthy said the 298 murders in Chicago through the end of September was also the first time since 1965 the city has had fewer than 300 murders in the first nine months of the year.
The superintendent said there were 22 fewer murders in the first three quarters of 2014 than the same time frame last year, and 102 fewer than the first three quarters of 2012, when a spike in murders in the first half of the year made national headlines.
McCarthy said the drop in murders continues a two-year downward trend for Chicago, with a 14 percent reduction in murders over that time frame.READ MORE: Local Businesses Hope For Similar Outcome Of Shoppers For Small Business Saturday
“It’s very significant, and it really shows the progress that the men and women out there are making,” McCarthy said on the CBS 2 Morning News. “Within that, there’s going to be short-term spikes, and peaks and valleys, and that’s what you’re seeing in that shooting number this year.”
McCarthy said there were 78 more shooting incidents in the first nine months of this year than last year, and 114 more shooting victims. He said a large part of that was a spike in shootings in May.
“Last year was the lowest shooting number on record. We had a spike earlier in the year. Actually, in the month of May, we struggled with shootings. Since then, it’s leveled off, and we’re trying to catch up to it, but it’s hard, because there were very good numbers last year,” McCarthy said.
The superintendent said gang violence continues to be the biggest challenge in reducing the number of shootings and murders in Chicago.MORE NEWS: Person Hospitalized Following Shooting On I-290
“This is 90 percent gang conflicts, and getting inside them is sometimes very difficult. So, of course we’re concerned,” McCarthy said. “It’s a double-edged sword. We haven’t had this low a number on October 1st since 1965, which is success, but it’s still almost 300 murders. We have a lot of work to do, and that’s going to continue for a long time. … The city didn’t get in this condition overnight, and it’s not going to turn around overnight.”