CHICAGO(CBS) — Chicago ends 2018 with nearly 600 murders on the record and thousands of robberies, yet the number of violent crimes committed this year is down by double digits.

CPD attributes new technology and a focus on illegal guns for those reductions.

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Monday they announced they’re doubling down on those efforts for 2019.

Chicago police plan to make it well known when they take their first illegal weapon off the streets for 2019.

The superintendent makes it seem like the problem is so bad that that call could come at 12:01.

Johnson says Chicago police collects double the amount of illicit guns compared to New York City police.

“That’s not because we’re twice as good. It’s because we have that many illegal weapons in this city,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

He’s repeatedly said firearms like those seized from the 7400 block of South Lake Shore Drive this New Year’s Eve are a problem. They take lives across the city, even inside his own department.

“You know, we started off the year and we lost Commander Paul Bauer,” Johnson said.

It’s been a particularly deadly stretch of 365 days for CPD.

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“Now we’ve had three in the past month, and in addition to that we’ve had the suicides, so that’s  that’s difficult,” he said.

Also tough to swallow: that three out of the four officers who died in the line of duty in 2018 passed away in incidents where a gun should’ve never been on the streets.

Commander Bauer was killed during a chase on Feb. 13th near the Thompson Center. The man accused of gunning the commander down was a four time felon, meaning he wasn’t allowed to have a weapon.

On Dec. 17th, a train hit and killed officers Edjuardo Marmelejo and Conrad Gary who were investigating a call of shots fired by the tracks. The bullets came from a gun picked up and fired by a man who didn’t own it.

In another incident in May, an ATF agent survived a gunshot to the face after an ambush in the back of the yards neighborhood. He’d been working alongside Chicago police to crack down on illegal guns.

“People from this state can just go across the border, fill up a laundry bag of weapons and bring them back here and sell them on the streets of Chicago,” Johnson said.

So in 2019 Johnson says CPD will bolster that illegal weapons crackdown with the help of federal prosecutors and the installation of high tech data centers at 20 out of 22 districts.

“We’ve also seized more than 9,600 illegal guns while increasing the amount of gun arrests,” Johnson said. “The correlation between gun seizures and gun arrests and declining homicides and shootings just simply cannot be overlooked or understated.”

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In the new year the department plans to hire 50 new sergeants for the detective bureau and call in experts from across the U.S. to work on Chicago’s clearance rate, or the number of crimes solved.

Lauren Victory