CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police said the city has seen a drop in gun violence for 12 months in a row, according to monthly crime data.
The February crime report from the Chicago Police Department showed 26 percent fewer shootings and 22 percent fewer murders last month, compared to February 2017.
So far this year, murders are down 23 percent and shootings are down 28 percent compared to the first two months of 2017, police said.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the department’s investments in new technology, hiring additional officers, and improving community have helped bring crime down for the past year.
“Members in the communities – the residents, business owners, and the clergy – are helping us quite a bit drive down these numbers,” he said.
As part of their ongoing effort to hire 1,000 new officers by the end of this year, the department has extended the deadline to apply for the next police exam until March 12. The exam will be held May 5 at McCormick Place.
“We want people to go to our website and sign up. It’s a great opportunity to join a career,” said Deputy Chief Dwayne Betts, head of the department’s Office of Community Policing.
Meantime, Johnson was in Springfield earlier this week to urge lawmakers to approve several pieces of gun control legislation, including the Cmdr. Paul Bauer Act, a measure to ban body armor and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Bauer was shot and killed last month outside the Thompson Center while trying to apprehend a suspect. Police said the man charged with Bauer’s murder was wearing body armor and armed with a 9 mm handgun with a 30-round clip.
While lawmakers did approve other gun control legislation on Wednesday – including a ban on bump stocks, a requirement for gun dealers to obtain state licenses, and greater restrictions on military-style assault weapons – House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office said lawmakers needed more time to build support for the Bauer Act.
Johnson said it was frustrating to see that bill not get a vote on Wednesday, “but I still have very positive feelings about it, because this has to be a comprehensive plan to reduce the gun violence; and the Paul Bauer Act is just one of those pieces.”
The superintendent said the gun dealer licensing legislation “should help substantially.”
Johnson also praised Dick’s Sporting Goods for deciding to stop selling assault-style rifles and to raise the minimum age to buy guns at its stores to 21.
Deputy Chief Dwayne Betts, head of CPD’s Office of Community Policing,